Movie Review: Interstellar!

interstellar.black_.hole_

Does Christopher Nolan’s latest film reach the stars, or does it crash and burn before leaving orbit? (MILD SPOILERS)

interstellarInterstellar (2014)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

 MILD SPOILERS

To call Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar an ambitious film is an understatement. It deals with a possible future for the human race, wormholes, the theory of relativity, black holes, and space travel. It clocks in at nearly 3 hours, and features some of the most mind bending space imagery I’ve ever seen. Yet despite it all, the driving force behind everything is a father’s love for his children, which makes Interstellar Nolan’s most affecting film yet.

The story follows Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper, a former NASA pilot turned farmer. In the not too distant future, Earth is dying and down to its last usable crop. With few options remaining, Cooper is brought into a highly secretive NASA program designed to seek out and find a new home for our species through a wormhole that has just been recently discovered near Saturn. Teaming up with other explorers Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and Doyle (Wes Bentley), the crew takes to the skies to explore the planets on the other side of the wormhole.

Honestly to go further would start to dip dangerously close into spoiler territory, and since much of Interstellar should be experienced as spoiler free as possible, I’ll try and cover only essential parts of the film. (vaguely). Interstellar spends a good chunk of its time dumping exposition on you in it’s first hour, and it also doesn’t waste any time getting McConaughey into space. It moves so fast, in fact, that I was worried that this may have been too much for Christopher Nolan to handle.

I was wrong. While there are moments where the film gets a little too bogged down in explaining the rules of the film, it’s worth it by the movie’s end, which does become a bit of a head trip at times. There were plenty of moments where I was blown away by what I was experiencing, but also almost on the edge of “come on”. Yet Nolan pulls back at just the right moments to make things not seem completely out there, and actually makes it all work by the time the credits role (it might make your head hurt a little though).

It should also be noted that Interstellar has some of the most insane space travel images put on film. Interstellar is a movie designed to be seen in theaters, IMAX or not. I saw it in a regular theater and many times I couldn’t believe the visuals I was seeing. The amount of research and planning that went into how this kind of travel could be accomplished must’ve been daunting, but it’s clearly worth it when you see it on screen.

As good as the visuals are, Interstellar wouldn’t work without its lead. McConaughey is the absolute star of the show. He nails every scene he’s in, and is clearly gunning for a second Oscar nomination. It’s impossible not to feel for him when he’s watching the video transmissions from his family while he’s on his mission. Anne Hathaway is also extremely good as Amelia, the daughter of Cooper’s old professor, played by Nolan mainstay Michael Caine.

While Inception may be my favorite Nolan film (aside from The Dark Knight), I think Interstellar might be his best. While Nolan may not achieve the lofty ambitions his film sets up, the mere fact that he took this kind of a risk shows why he’s one of the best filmmakers working today. Sure, there’s plenty of things for the Nolan haters to pick apart, but at the same time, even they have to admit that Nolan’s pulled of something pretty damn cool with Interstellar.

A-

12 thoughts on “Movie Review: Interstellar!

  1. I agree that it was pretty long but due to its episode structure it didn’t bother me. I’m actually really glad it was as long as it was.

  2. Loved this movie, even if the big plot reveal near the end was a bit tough to wrap my head around.

    This movie brought back the beauty and wonder of space exploration that Abram’s Star Trek movies have been sorely lacking in.

  3. I need to see this movie again. It held me the entire runtime, the acting and directing were superb, I really enjoyed the concept of the story, and visually it was stunning.

    But something about the last 30-45 minutes really soured the experience for me.

    [Mild Non-Story SpoilersI found myself really put off by some of the, frankly, implausible/impossible scientific aspects of the film. It began so grounded, but the was the final “twist” (which they telegraphed from the moment the entire idea was introduced) was handled was *too* out there for me, and broke my suspension of disbelief for a moment. That said, I LOVED the ending moments and the implied events to come next.
    NO MORE SPOILERS

    I would say it’s worthy of Nolan’s legacy, but not quite to to something like, say, The Dark Knight or The Prestige.

  4. I applaud the fact that every time Nolan directs a Non-Batman movie, it’s even more ambitious in scope and themes than it’s previous film. I like that he always seems to push himself to go further with every new movie he directs.

    I liked the film quite a bit, though I definitely don’t think it’s his best movie yet. He handles most of it really well, but it’s not nearly as consistent and finely crafted as say, Inception or The Prestige.

    SPOILERS

    While I do think most of the ending still works in a sci-fi setting, I don’t really like that everything seems to work itself out that well for the main character. Given that sacrifice is one of the biggest themes that the movie tackles, the fact that not only does he manage to get out of that black hole alive, but his life still has a mostly positive outlook moving forward feels a little cheap to me.

    Also, I think that there’s too much screen time being wasted on the part after the daughter torches the corn field and before she gets the code in the watch. While in space you have this very tense situation unfolding with this amazing imagery, cutting back repeatedly to a corn field being burned down feels very pedestrian and boring in comparison.

    Still, it’s definitely one of those movies I am very glad to have watched, because it’s just so different from everything else out there, including other space-related films.

  5. The first act is fine so long as you have not seen the Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl (now on netflix and worth your time). The film uses clips from the documentary of people who lived through the Dust Bowl which is a weirdly jaring choice.

    The transition to the second act, from farmer who divines the last NASA mission by looking at dust on his floor to captain of the mission, is awkward to say the least.

    We need a new planet for humanity lets not get one that will last too long so how about that one orbiting a black hole. Terrible idea laughable on the face of it.

    Awful overbearing music.

    Time travel loophole, if we had to go through the wormhole to save the race then who opened the wormhole to save the race.

    M. Night Shamalambidingdong and they all lived happily ever after ending.

    We can live and survive on a space station but not on earth. Wait wut?

    This movie is Signs meets Sunshine and it goes together as well as beef jerky and bubblegum. I give it a D.

    1. I haven’t read many criticisms on the music, which I agree was WAY TOO FUCKING LOUD.

      It was worth a watch. Especially in IMAX. Beyond that, I wouldn’t even waste a mantinee viewing in a regular theater. It’s too damn long and the ending needed a rewrite. SCIENCE, SCIENCE, SCIENCE, LOVE.

  6. What a beutiful film, saw oit last night he effects were amazing!
    the young actress who played Murv was excellent aswell gave me chills, the supporting cast was top class, the only gripe for me was Anne hathaway i just thought she was lifeless and out of place the more Wes Bentley the better i say.
    apart from when it shit the bed near the end (or my brain did) i found it to be a good film, if a little long.
    wait for the blu ray if your arse cant take the 3 hours

  7. I loved it and can’t wait to watch it again in IMAX. When the year is over, Interstellar will definitely be in my top ten.

  8. I am 3 months late to this party; but after watching it today, I agree it is his best work. Like you said, the amount pre production time would make the average Michael Bay director join Tony Scott at the bottom of the ocean. For its high concept premise, Nolan kept the film on track and mostly logical. Great review Sir.

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