In 2012 Christopher Nolan was hot stuff. The British director had just come off the beloved Dark Knight trilogy and could make any movie he wanted. He chose Interstellar, an epic and ambitious movie that might be the most far-out mainstream science-fiction blockbuster since 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was a critical and box office smash back in 2014 and is now having another moment in the spotlight as it climbs the streaming charts.
The film follows Matthew McConaughey’s Joseph Cooper, who is recruited to pilot a ship through a mysterious wormhole that may hold the key to humanity’s future. What he finds within is a series of mind-bending events that mess with time, space, and scale.
The action is all the more impressive for being grounded in rigorous scientific research, with the genesis of the movie having scientists wondering what it’d be like to see some of the universe’s craziest phenomenon from a human perspective.
It’s the kind of movie that requires focus and background reading to appreciate exactly what’s going on, though by sheer spectacle alone ended up one of the highest-grossing films of the year. It went on to be nominated for five Oscars at the 87th Academy Awards, walking away as the winner of the Best Visual Effects category.
In retrospect, Interstellar fits neatly into Nolan’s career-long preoccupation with time and chronology. This was on display in his 2000 breakout hit Memento and powered last year’s Tenet. After suffering through that, I’m hoping he’s finally got it out of his system and is ready to move on to stories that make a bit more sense.
Interstellar is currently streaming on Netflix in many territories around the world, though not on the domestic service. U.S. subscribers can catch it on Paramount+ and rent it at all the usual places.