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Review - Interstellar

By midlandsmovies, Dec 10 2014 12:46PM

Interstellar (2014) Dir. Christopher Nolan

*Mild spoilers* To authenticity and beyond! Wunderkind director Chris Nolan returns with this space odyssey that is confusing, chaotic, challenging and determined to raise cinematic blockbusters above the mediocre but ultimately gets destroyed by its own self aware cleverness. Nolan chooses American everyman Matthew McConaughey to play Cooper, a farmer who once tested NASA spaceships to be our last hope in finding a solution to mankind’s food problems. With huge dust storms, the director combines large scale problems with small scale intimacy and soon sends him to the heavens to fly through a wormhole in the hope of finding a habitable colony. What Nolan gets right is to show us galactic wonders on an epic scale and harvesting Zimmer’s ear-splitting score, cultivates a feeling of awe in the vast emptiness.

McConaughey is joined by Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brand (daughter of Professor Brand played by Nolan stalwart Michael Caine) & David Gyasi & Wes Bentley as the “expendable” crew. As they planet hop and come up against the problems of relativity and time dilation set against mountain-high waves and polar landscapes, the film stutters from one sequence to the next and is juxtaposed with the panic back on our homeworld. One superb scene is played brilliantly by McConaughey, who leaves son & daughter behind, and watches them literally grow up in front of his eyes as time is contracted in videos sent from earth. The astro-antics continue as their options dwindle yet I began to question why Nolan’s wizardry with action resulted in him focusing so much on the (badly written) mawkish character aspects that are clearly not his forte. Ironically Interstellar is so full of corn that it could keep the human species alive for another generation or two.

One review also suggested the film needed to more strictly adhere to science to make it work. I would suggest the exact opposite. The long protracted explanations of everything made me pine for Gravity (2013)-style simplicity and its arse-sleeping 169 minutes felt even longer with a dragging and ridiculous third act. With some pleasant surprises such as TARS (a uniquely designed robot who is a help rather than a HAL-hindrance) and an exhilarating spinning space-lock sequence, you may be able to overlook the time-looping looseness of the story. Howver, despite enjoying the planetary exploration I felt that after his previous highs, the film ultimately disappointed and failed to break out of its sentimental science-fact orbit.

7/10 MM Mike (doing my best to avoid a Matthew McConaughey “Failure to Launch” pun – doh, too late!)

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