Paramount/Warner Bros./Legendary (2014) 169 min. PG-13
Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan
Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema; Editing: Lee Smith
Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Garry Fettis
Costumes: Mary Zophres;Score: Hans Zimmer
Stars: Matthew McConaughey (Cooper), Anne Hathaway (Amelia Brand), Jessica Chastain (Murphy), Michael Caine (Prof. Brand), Wes Bentley (Doyle), Matt Damon (Dr. Mann), Casey Affleck (Tom), MacKenzie Foy (young Murphy), David Gyasi (Romilly), John Lithgow (Donald), Topher Grace (Getty), Ellen Burstyn (old Murphy)
Jingoistic homespun set in space, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar feels very loosey-goosey in its pseudo-intellectual way, propounding the universal truths as it does, while at the same time immersing itself in nativist and isolationist sympathies. It’s an unrestrained celebration of America’s expansionist policies, exalting the idea of manifest destiny by extending Western civilization’s never-ceasing spread. This time, we’re exhorted to push upwards, into the stars, in order to open up virgin territory ripe for the plucking to a whole new space age of exploration. Once depletion of this planet’s resources is complete, we set out for new lands and new civilizations to conquer, stripping their resources and raping the environment anew. Apparently it’s open season for colonization when the focus is outside the current ecosphere.
Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Patricia Cuccia & Catherine Davis
Costumes: Marit Allen; Score: Gustavo Santaolalla
Stars: Heath Ledger (Ennis Del Mar), Jake Gyllenhaal (Jack Twist), Anne Hathaway (Lureen Newsome),Michelle Williams (Alma), Randy Quaid (Joe Aguirrre), Linda Cardellini (Cassie), Kate Mara (Alma Jr., age 19), Roberta Maxwell (Jack’s Mother), Graham Beckel (L.D. Newsome)
With its topicality, self-congratulatory ballsiness and down home setting, Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee’s plaintive ode to repressed passions and frustrated longings, has officially placed the filmmaker in Hollywood’s pantheon of great directors (he picked up an Oscar for it), and that’s apt. For this movie presents a complete crystallization of the dominant theme woven throughout his entire body of work, that of romance thwarted and love aborted by people’s unwillingness or inability to express their true feelings. The story concerns the decades long secret affair between Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two cowboys who are unable to reconcile their love for one another. Brokeback Mountain is just as pained and tinged with angst as everything that’s gone before it.