What if the Dark Knight trilogy was a footnote in Christopher Nolan’s career? The man who respected a vastly misunderstood audience, the man who made quality a pre-requisite for real success in the superhero genre and who took a broad and broody concept and drained every cartoonish quality out of it for the better. What if Nolan transformed comic book movies and then went in a dozen different directions that all eventually pointed up?
This is the man who gave us Memento, Inception and now Interstellar, which looks so grand and intimate, so beautiful and gut-wrenchingly raw. Anything is possible.
In the latest trailer for Interstellar, we see Nolan’s attempt to add a bit of humanity to a genre that, despite its accomplishments, sometimes lacks it. Matthew McConaughey’s character is shattered as he leaves his world behind to find another, refusing to tell his family that he is trying to save the world or that he won’t return because he wants them to feel safe. He is a man above himself, a hero and a human. We feel something. Pain, sadness and kinship — for and with this man in just a few moments. It’s amazing.
Besides that, we can observe — clearly and more fully than with previous trailers — that this film will be visually stunning as the space crew (McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley and David Oyelowo) cut through the black mystery of space before landing on a foreign planet.
I love that this film has a thumping heart, big scope, full beauty and an astonishingly talented cast (Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, William Devane and others fill out the supporting roles), but most of all, I love that it has a message about our lapsed sense of wonder with regard to what’s beyond as we drown in a sea of trivial things and an appreciation of our indefatigable nature. There are two lines that bookend the footage from the trailer that sum those things up perfectly. They are poetry and grace and perfection.
“We used to look up at the sky and wonder about our place in the stars, now we just look down and wonder about our place in the dirt.”
I love how the word “stars” rolls on the waves of McConaughey’s easy drawl and how the word dirt sounds like it was spit out of his mouth with hatred in the beginning, just as I love Caine’s wistful but resilient recitation of Dylan Thomas’ words at the conclusion, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Interstellar comes out on November 7th. This looks special.