Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck
Rated: PG-13 (some intense perilous action and brief strong language)
A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.
By Matt Greene
Interstellar is a mixed bag, one that makes my emotions flip-flop more than a campaigning politician. On the positive side, the scifi technology, sound design, and score are all initially arresting, with the balletic space visuals and effects greying the line between reality and movie-magic. It’s undeniably gorgeous and (at times) speechlessly engrossing…so why I am struggling? Maybe it’s because my love for the positives is only outmatched by my disdain for the negatives: the ponderous dialogue, the Shyamalan-like “what-a-twist!” moments, the bulky length, the dishonest ending. Nolan shot for the moon, got distracted by the stars, and missed his target.
Interstellar follows a small band of renegade explorers (led by a nicely grounded performance by McConaughey) who, through a wormhole in space, travel to the furthest parts of the universe to find a new planet for humanity to inhabit. The plot is a science/space enthusiast’s dream that combines the terror of Kubrick’s 2001… and the awe Spielberg’s Close Encounters…, only Interstellar is more contrived or melodramatic than either. It’s a fascinating study of time and the lengths we go for those we love, but the ponderous, self-aware and weepy nature of the heavily thematic discourse softens the impact, most apparently in the unbearably doe-eyed Hathaway.
Every Nolan film is an event, and each is worth grappling with. They are filled with big ideas and big visuals in big worlds. If he could self-edit better, Interstellar could easily be a 5 star film that goes down in the annals of scifi movies. Unfortunately, much of the 169 minutes is too gloriously flawed to be fully recommendable.
2.5 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
Earlier this year I wrote a review on “Lucy” admitting the futility in explaining why the film was so great beyond simply acknowledging the abundance of style and economy of editing. “Interstellar” has highs as tall as cinema can offer and lows that make one wince and sigh. It’s easy to dismiss “Interstellar” as self-serious mumbo-jumbo that doesn’t get out of its own way, but it’s far more rewarding to tolerate what it doesn’t do well in favor of enjoying all that it does so fantastically.
As a humanist counterpart to Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the film delivers. It’s message–that loving relationships are (literally) the very fabric that binds space and time together–is certainly different than the indifference “2001” showed humanity. Yet, this is also the source of trouble for Nolan (“Dark Knight Trilogy”, “Inception”) in “Interstellar”. His sci-fi melodrama can be heavy, especially over the course of three hours. That’s true whether it’s compared to “2001” or any of the other sci-fi classics it samples (“Solaris”, “Close Encounters”, “Contact”).
Nolan’s strengths aren’t in character writing or subtle exposition. Where Nolan is strong, however, he is as strong as any filmmaker around. No one else builds such huge, elaborate, ambitious blockbusters with such cerebral, intelligent centers. He makes art films for the masses. “Interstellar” is no doubt a better cinematic experience than it is purely a film, but in a place and age of lackluster blockbusters, there is no doubt that one should run to the theaters and pay whatever price IMAX wants to charge.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars