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Science Fact, Not Fiction

Nolan’s new cinematic epic, Interstellar, launched in theatres just last week. Like Inception, the new space-drama is ambigous; open-ended, and therefore doused in the ambition of igniting rumination. I walked out of the cinema in deep thought, and along with it, a headache — perhaps the best headache I’ve ever had.

Although abstract, the film is also, astoundingly, strictly bound to actual science: Wired’s editorial features a behind-the-scenes interview with Kip Thorne, renowned astrophysicist and executive producer of Interstellar.

Over the course of a couple months in early 2013, Thorne and Nolan delved into what the physicist calls “the warped side of the universe”—curved spacetime, holes in the fabric of reality, how gravity bends light. “The story is now essentially all Chris and Jonah’s,” Thorne says. “But the spirit of it, the goal of having a movie in which science is embedded in the fabric from the beginning—and it’s great science—that was preserved.”

Besides covering astrophysics, Wired’s article details the mathemetically-generated graphics for the movie, with Interstellar apparently having the most accurate visualisation of a spherical black hole. In the film, it’s dazzling and iconic.

Einstein’s theory of gravitation and special relativity follows through the entire movie, and is applied not only in the graphics, but also on the story. What’s interesting is that Nolan manages to educate his audience on how the condensing of time by gravity (from hours into decades) can affect, in this case, a father and daughter longing to meet again. It’s the first Hollywood piece that’s left my left-brain hyper-active, and perhaps has given me hope again for more logical blockbusters.

As unique as the story, Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack booms loud through each frame. Zimmer uses pipe organs that — and I can’t believe it — work so beautifully to underscore the film. It’s a haunting mix of alternating minimalism and romaniticism, and races when brilliantly intense scenes are at play.

Interstellar is not merely a film, but a work of art. A spectacle that’s driven me to satiate my curiosity, and explore far out in the field of astrophysics. (Though hopefully, not ruminate too far and wander off into an event horizon.)