Patrick Stevens bio photo

Patrick Stevens

Former mathematics student at the University of Cambridge; now a software engineer.

Email Twitter Github Stackoverflow

I’ve just come back from seeing Interstellar, a film of peril and physics. This post will be spoiler-free except for sections which are in rot13.

I thought the film was excellent. My previous favourite film in its genre was Sunshine, but this beats it in many ways, chiefly that the physics portrayed in Interstellar - relativity, primarily - is not so wrong that it’s immediately implausible. Indeed, some physics-driven plot twists (such as gvqny sbeprf arne n oynpx ubyr) I called in advance, which is a testament to how closely the film matched my physical expectations. My stomach nearly dropped out when the characters realised what relativity meant for them.

This is one of few films whose outcome was truly tense and uncertain for me. Characters were reasonably well-developed, and Michael Caine was in it. Good long story, told at the right pace, and there weren’t too many concessions made to the plot. (By which I mean, it felt like things often happened as they would in real life, rather than just to make a good story, and I had genuine feelings of empathic frustration when reality intervened in the plot.)

The film lasted perhaps seven minutes too long, in my opinion. V gubhtug vg fubhyq unir raqrq jvgu gur cebgntbavfg qlvat bhgfvqr Fnghea, naq uhznavgl’f shgher hapregnva ohg thnenagrrq gb pbagnva tbqubbq. I think it’s made to cater to USA audiences rather than British ones; we Brits tend to like emotions to be portrayed with subtlety in films. There were several places I thought the ending was going to be very different: gung Pbbcre jbhyq qvr ba gur sebmra cynarg; gung gurl jbhyq fynz vagb gur oynpx ubyr naq qvr; gung Zhecul’f oebgure jbhyq xvyy Zhecul jura fur oenaqvfurq gur jngpu. My favourite ending would simply have been the film without its last scene.

Additionally, a little too much was made of ybir genafpraqf gvzr naq fcnpr: while I can believe one irrational person saying this, it stretches the imagination for an entire team of scientists to think it.

I should stress that those are pretty much my only problems with this film, and they’re all pretty minor. I loved the soundtrack; the visual effects were astonishing (vaguely reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey). I’d go so far as to say that this film is beautiful, not just in a visual sense but in an arty sense: its spirit is pure, or something like that. Very much worth the price of entry, at a little under £3/hr.