Film School : Interstellar

(Here you won’t find a film review of Interstellar but rather a point about filmmaking that is further cemented by Interstellar.)


Chris Nolan, who is one of the most significant directors in film today shows yet again that creative risk plus a relentless pursuit of excellence always yields an effort worth watching and worth talking about.

Whether you think the movie totally works or not purely on a story level, it’s tough not to appreciate the fact that very few movies in cinematic history have even been attempted like Interstellar…a character driven “What does it all mean?” journey executed on the largest of scale. Try getting that green-lit at a studio today! There are only a few filmmakers that wouldn’t be laughed out of the room for pitching such a concept to begin with. Chris Nolan, the guy who made a film in reverse about a guy with no short term memory, before that was even a device people knew was possible.

Chris Nolan, the guy who was willing to take something so significant as the iconic Batmobile and completely blow it up on his first outing as a mega franchise feature director. Whatever critiques one may have about any of Nolan’s films, one thing that is clear is Nolan is the type of creative risk taker that many talk about but few actually are.

Now the second part of the above equation is every bit, if not more important than the first, “the relentless pursuit of excellence”.

What else is clear, yet again, by watching Interstellar is how focused Nolan and his team are on craftsmanship. Nothing is phoned in here. In fact, it’s all been meticulously worked through and refined.

From the phenomenal Hans Zimmer score that blares at deafening volume, juxtaposed against the silence of space itself. Total stimulation vs total void. The VFX looks like it doesn’t even exist, it looks like great VFX should look, exactly like the real thing! The pursuit of excellence is clear everywhere. The willingness to sand the wood over and over and over and over, till it’s not just good enough, but perfect.

I have my comments about this and other Nolan movies, both positive and negative, but I never have walked out of any Nolan film not talking about, not appreciating it, or thinking that he didn’t leave all his effort and passion on the field of play.

I am clearly not the only one who appreciates the above, because Nolan’s films, including this one, have droves of people who show up to see them, even when they don’t have the Batman in them.

The lesson here is audiences appreciate creative risk and the hard work of a fine craftsman, even if they have critiques about the final product. They have the highest regard for the endeavor and will show up on opening night for the next one.

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