Sunday, 23 November 2014

INTERSTELLAR: PROMETHEUS UNBOUND



The good news is that Interstellar – the latest film by Hollywood wunderkind Christopher Nolan – is an intelligent science fiction film in the 70’s meta-cinema mold. It asks big, eugenic, and vaguely fascistic questions about humanity’s future, and posits big answers, too, in a way that is refreshingly daring and original for a mainstream film made in this day and age.

Nolan, who has also made the most impressive super hero films of the last ten years – The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises – is an old school director in style, intelligence, and temperament. He’s certainly not a Spielberg clone like JJ Abrams, or one of those anonymous Michael-Bay-like drones that are all interchangeable – Zach Snyder, McG, Bret Rattner, and that creepy Bryan Singer, et al.

Nolan is in the more rarefied air and company of the likes of David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, David Cronenberg, David Lynch and Paul Thomas Anderson, directors able to navigate the Hollywood system and produce quality, original, and daring work from within the Leviathan. That’s the good news. Filmmakers like this are few and far between in today’s Hollywood because many talents have opted for the underground and Indy world instead of venturing into the Hell A maelstrom.

Interstellar itself is, in essence, apocalyptic but avoids religious eschatology and theology with its roots firmly planted in a Nietzschean materialist view. We are presented with a situation where humanity, through the folly of Cultural Marxism, has not heeded the wisdom of Thomas Malthus by performing the necessary 'cull' – of the kind recommended by Green Fascists like Penti Linkola – so that the planet is over populated, under resourced, and facing a food crisis as the Environment collapses.

That this scenario is caused by liberals and the Left and their folly is explicitly stated in this film. Remember that in The Dark Knight Rises Nolan mocked and recreated the Terror and show trails of the French Revolution (and Stalinism for that matter) in Upper East Side New York with Bane and friends. In much of his work he is unmistakably a Rightist and radical conservative in temperament and outlook.

This reality of environmental collapse is perhaps twenty to fifty years away – if some things go the wrong way in the biosphere and the doomsayers of global warming turn out to be correct – so the film’s message is prescient. I know that “the facts” on climate change are debatable, but few would argue that the world is not over polluted and that the main future pollutant will be the rapidly burgeoning population of the Second and Third Worlds. The world in Interstellar is run by scrounging agrarian farmers and a very limited government that teaches conspiracy theories as truth and eschews and shuns science and technology in general.

Scorched 'Earth' policy.
Everyone who can, farms for much needed food. But the land is dying fast in a dust bowl 1930’s kind of way. The lead character, Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey in righteous white-man-saving-humanity mode is a farmer and former pilot and NASA golden boy before the agency was defunded and closed down. He has a precocious teen daughter named Murphy, who sees ghosts in her room, and is a bit too stubborn and strong headed, to say the least.

Anyway, giving away as little as possible and avoiding unnecessary spoilers, the two end up getting a ‘sign’ (possibly alien) to go to some co-ordinates, where they find a secret underground NASA cell, busily building rockets to reach a new galaxy, and using a recently opened wormhole near Saturn. This is all very Star Trek: Deep Space Nine but it works in Nolan’s mock serious and grand style.

Cooper is sent by NASA chief Brand, played by Michael Caine, virtually as himself in wise old white man Jungian archetype mode, to pop through the wormhole with Batgirl and some token black guy (virtually the only non-white actor in the movie) to find one of three potentially habitable planets in orbit somewhere near a massive black hole on the other side of the newly discovered wormhole.

Sound tricky? Well, it is. Caine and friends know this, as two previous missions have popped through the said wormhole, but, apart from a few scrambled messages, nothing and no one has ever come back.

The gist of the mission is to find out whether life can be supported on these new planets and if humans from Earth can be transported and flown there en masse. If not their brief is to explore the feasibility of a "Plan B" – sending fertilized eggs and incubators in a rather eugenic and radically Promethean move.

It turns out that Plan B really is the only feasible plan, and that humanity on Earth is doomed, and that everyone there will die in a generation or two.

Brave new world: McConaughey as Cooper.
Nolan goes straight to Armageddon and the suggested new eugenic model with delightful and foreboding glee, and a cold, scientific, Spock-like rationalism and pragmatism. This is another fascinatingly fascistic or Malthusian dimension of the film: that life, the environment, and the planets in general are finite, few, and far between – and fragile – and that mass humanity, under delusional ideas of equality, has totally abused Mother Earth and is destined deservedly to extinction.

The film is strung together with an interesting Nietzschean thread that the Future of mankind is being held back by the great and ignorant mass of humanity. Cooper has a few "para–Nietzschean" speeches about how he is not a farmer but really an explorer in the Grand European Tradition, and that humanity's role is either an ubermenschean one, or else to allow the ubermensch to come in to being and not to be held back by "The Last Man," which is represented by mass humanity with its petty, pointless, and pedestrian needs.

The film itself and its whole narrative sweep is testimony to this main idea. It's a Nietzschean evocation of the techno-scientific ubermensch in a sci-fi narrative, with rather impressive visual effects, mise en scene, and sound design.

Another fun aspect – this one contains is a real spoiler, so don’t say you haven’t been warned – is Matt Damon’s presence in the film. Damon turns up only in the last seventy minutes or so. He is a "hero" astronaut sent before Cooper to find a new planet.

Damon's character, Dr. Mann, is a self-reliant and desperate struggler, stranded on a freezing planet that basically cannot sustain life. He puts himself in to suspended animation – and is awoken by Cooper and Batgirl (yes, I’m going to keep calling Anne Hathaway’s Amelia Brand character by that name) when they get there. Damon starts off friendly and wise, but turns into the villain of the movie as he desperately tries to save his own skin and get the fuck out of dodge.

He represents the brutal unconscious Darwinian struggle for existence that the film is trying to transcend with its Meta-Nietzschean superhuman motif. Damon is good in the role and the sequence of Cooper and him in battle is the highlight of the film in a purely action adventure sense.

I won’t go into Jessica Chastian’s character as the grown-up Murphy, Cooper’s daughter, but she stays on Earth and the farm – all shot in a very Terrence Malick way – and eventually joins NASA and wise old Caine as an astrophysicist and talented speculative mathematician. She holds the key to the positive ending involving Black Holes and the transcendence of history through a Nietzschean ‘new god’ type scenario – but go see the film to find out how Nolan reaches that pay off.

Overall Interstellar is an impressive science fiction outing with major SFX, plenty of style, and ambition in abundance that is well worth the attention of Alt-Righters and all open-minded people everywhere. I recommend you see it in an IMAX, where its ubermenschean proportions take on a suitably gargantuan aspect and gestalt. Hats off to Nolan for pulling this off – making such a wild, out there, and interesting sci-fi movie from within the Hollywood system in 2014! More power to him – and to the stars!


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