Interstellar: Film Review

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*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

I desperately wanted to like this because I think Christopher Nolan is a genius and his previous films are incredible. My expectations were so high – because of his prior work, because I was excited for so long and because I saw headlines calling it an “epic masterpiece” – and I was disappointed. Nolan’s concept was too ambitious, too sentimental and the human touch gets lost in the science.

Matthew McConaughey stars as Coop, a widowed pilot who looks after his two children on a farm. Food supplies are running out due to blight and the life expectancy of humans on Earth does not look good. His daughter Murph thinks there is a ghost in her room, which sends them a message of co-ordinates. It leads Coop to an NASA hub, where he is recruited on a space mission to save humanity by exploring potential hospitable planets via a wormhole.

I found the beginning incredibly slow and that probably isn’t helped by the way McConaughey speaks. Many things weren’t explained as much as they should have – why is the planet like this? Why are they chasing this drone? And then all the NASA science talk of gravity sets in and you are desperately trying to make sense of it all.

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I understand when making a space movie, you need sci-fi speak, like in a hospital drama, you need complicated hospital language to make it believable – but it should be done in an accessible way and this simply wasn’t. It should provide the realistic setting but not hamper the human side of things, but this did. I grasped what was happening to a point, but after talks of black holes and singularities set in, I am so overwhelmed. I eventually started letting the science-speak go over my head because I knew I wasn’t going to get it, and trying to wrap my head around it was just distracting from the story.

Conversely, the emotional side is laid on a bit thick. McConaughey is great at showing the guilt he feels at leaving his children, especially knowing that they will age quicker than he will (due to relativity) and there were some really touching moments. I really got the father-daughter relationship and that is one element I truly liked. However, I did think it got too corny and sentimental at times. Anne Hathaway’s speech about love transcending gravity and time (words to that affect) almost gave me an eye roll. It was too much science, then too much emotion and the balance never seemed quite right.

Don’t get me wrong, I was interested the entire time. I absorbed it all (or tried to) and it looked stunning. The fact that most of this was done with models and without green screen is impressive. I only really got into the story by the time they reached a planet ravaged by tidal waves. But here, I felt the pacing was odd and key beats were missing so the scene wasn’t heightened to its full potential. The following planet is where I felt things were really getting somewhere because we get some of the first real twists and it almost verges on a thriller. The surprise casting was genius (I will not reveal who!) and was so impressed it hadn’t been spoiled for me.

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So besides all the overly-scientific discussions and overly-corny speeches, I was actually liking it but I still felt like something bigger needed to happen to justify such a long running time (nearly three hours). But what happens next was so bizarre, weird and illogical that I simply lost all hope for the movie. Coop enters the black hole and ends up in a fifth dimension where he can see his daughter when she was young and it is revealed that he was her ghost and the true purpose of the mission was get her to solve Earth’s problem through maths/psychics(when she is later played by Jessica Chastain). So he essentially sends himself to NASA – what?! I was seriously thinking ‘what the fuck?!’ over and over in my head. It didn’t make sense and just unravels what you thought you knew. The fact that Coop survives falling through a black hole and ends up reunited with his daughter did not having the positive impact it should have because it seems impossible. Their tearful reunion lost its punch because I was no longer invested. Coop should be dead – him surviving and sending fifth dimensional messages makes no sense whatsoever and I did not enjoy the film from that point on.

Nolan regularly makes movies that turn what you think you know on its head and leaves you reeling. But they still seem to make sense within the realms of the film. But here, I didn’t understand and that really harmed my ability to enjoy it. So I cannot bring myself to say I liked it or disliked it. I think I need to see it again because I’m still trying to rationalise what happened when you probably aren’t supposed to. The acting was fantastic, it looked amazing but the script was a bit clunky, too scientific and too sentimental and that third act was ridiculous. Not one of Nolan’s best.

SEE ALSO: My pics from the Interstellar U.K. premiere

Trackbacks

  1. […] such a fan of Christopher Nolan films so I always hype them up so much. This was my downfall with Interstellar and now it is again with Dunkirk. I had raised my expectations so high that it would be impossible […]

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