Universal appeal

I wish I could have the experience of watching The Farthest for the first time once again. I can’t recall exactly but I think it was about two-thirds of the way in, as the lush, jazzy shuffle of Pink Floyd’s Us and Them was soundtracking a segment of the probe’s flight, that I really began to get that tingle in the spine that this was something very special indeed. America is about to have the pleasure of its company from August 11th (which should be some recompense for the impending threat of nuclear war). They are in for a major treat, as this 5-star Sindo review hints. 


Title: The Farthest
Cert: PG

IT WAS in 2013, just as director Emer Reynolds and producer John Murray realised a shared obsession with the Voyager space-probe mission, that NASA announced that Voyager 1 had left our solar system, making it the first man-made object to enter interstellar space.

Reynolds, Murray and co-producer Clare Stronge rounded up cinematographer Kate McCullough, film-score maestro Ray Harman and a host of other leading home-grown talent and got to work on a feature documentary to chart the inception and journey of this extraordinary scientific venture.

Four years after that moment (and 40 in total since Voyager 1 was launched), The Farthest arrives as not only one of the finest film projects ever completed with Irish Film Board funding but one of the big-screen events of the year.

There is too much of sheer fascination to map-out here but some strands are particularly astonishing. One is the primitive nature of the probe’s computer system – equivalent to that inside a hearing aid – that powers it to this day and for years sent back jaw-dropping images that have rewritten our knowledge of space. Another is the “Golden Record” created by celeb boffin Carl Sagan to travel aboard the craft as a musical and visual primer should alien intelligence ever intercept it.

A film that will make you marvel anew at both the stars above as well as the beauty and ambition of science. Book your tickets this instant.


First published in the Sunday Independent