The conventional cinematic equation goes something like this: Steven Spielberg x Stanley Kubrick + Ridley Scott (- CGI) = le cinema de Christopher Nolan. Add a soupcon of Carl Sagan, Borges, Terrence Malick and a few blackholes, wormholes and plotholes and you get Interstellar, an ambitious blowhard about a west African crop failure in America’s Midwest in the near future and the need to find an alternative life in outerspace – which may be closer than we think but paradoxically a lifetime away, what with relativity, quantum physics, tesseracts and the human aging process and ghosts. There are inconsistencies, longeurs and a slick willy of a performance from Matthew McConaughey plus Matt Damon showing up to ruin everything. There is righteous awe at a tidal wave and acceptance of the Apollo landings being faked in this brave new world (having been to NASA and seen the tinfoil production, I get it.). Nolan’s is at least an optical option for cinema, not the digital fakery being slopped over the unwitting punter. Why ask for the moon? We have the stars.
“Ideals are peaceful, history is violent,” bellows Wardaddy (Brad Pitt), the tank sergeant charged with keeping his buddies alive in a Tiger 131 as hostilities draw to their awful conclusion in Germany, 1945. In David Ayer’s film there is endless mud, grey skies, nasty Nazis, horrific killing and a rookie typist who gains his stripes in more ways than one as their numbers are depleted. Tough, dirty, vulnerable and filled with cliched heroics and admirable acts, this is one helluva film. Best job I ever had.