Thinking about ‘Interstellar'
Cooper’s haunted looks sear through. He looks so alone. Out cold inside a black hole, he yearns, and remembers. It is his daughter–back on Earth that he had left with a promise. A promise he now knows he can’t keep. He has failed.
This is a film not just about parenthood. It is anthropological in its canvas. Humankind is struggling to survive, and we see all of our species’ defining features here. It is about humanity’s best and worst. ‘Mann’ lies to ensure his survival. Cooper braves a black hole to send Brand on her way, wryly quoting the Newton’s third law, “The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind.” Brand still loves someone who she hasn’t seen in decades, and is pulled light years towards him. We may be three dimensional beings, but ‘love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.’ For a moment, I am reminded of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ when Mann says, ”Our survival instinct is our single greatest source of inspiration.” The film seems to be an ode to Murphy’s law–whatever that can happen will happen—as almost every single thing that could have gone wrong with the mission goes wrong; and to the Darwin’s law of adaptability, when Cooper and Brand adapt to the ever increasing complexities of their mission to stay alive.
“Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future.”
Cooper’s predicament is universal. He chooses ‘not’ to be merely a ghost. He rises above his immediate goals in favor of his future ones. He wonders. He plans. Thus he achieves.
“Nature is not evil.”
Cooper boldly goes where no one has ever gone before–inside the singularity. For him, Murphy’s law is not a pessimistic take on nature, it is about fairness. That is why he does not give up hope for the future of Earth’s remaining inhabitants, and vaults into the ‘gentle’ singularity of the black hole, even though he has no way of relaying the quantum information just yet.
“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Dylan Thomas’ famous poem is heard reverberating throughout. And that is how the action goes. Every character, even Tom fights to save the crop he grew. Cooper docks into a wildly spinning Endurance defying everyone around him, because he just couldn’t give up. Humanity fights hard to survive across galaxies, as time watches.
“I’m not afraid of death…, I’m afraid of time.”
Cooper’s primary struggle is against time. He wants to save the future. He is left maimed by relativity, but he continues on, not caring for the costs. He is haunted by his memories, but he manages not to become one himself.
Cooper’s survival instincts kick in. He realizes the time tesseract is not a prison, but a gateway to peer into time. He watches his daughter stare forlornly towards the bookcase. Can he communicate with her in time? The harder he tries, the bitter the results are. He sees himself walking out the door, leaving her bundled up in her fury. He realizes what he has to do. Humanity was born on Earth, but it was never to meant to die there. And so it shall be.