In his first directorial effort since completing his Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan returns to the visually striking and mind-bending side of films with “Interstellar”.
Set in the future on a dying planet Earth, several astronauts (Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway) set out into a wormhole near Saturn to try and find a new planet suitable for human life. Nolan favorite Michael Caine plays the intellectual head of the project and Jessica Chastain also stars.
Say what you will about Christopher Nolan films, but one thing that is undeniable is that every one of his movies has large scopes and ambitions. The problem most of his films not named “Inception” and “The Dark Knight” have are that the scope is often too big to fill. “Interstellar” sets the bar incredibly high (that bar being an entirely different galaxy) and for most of the film it appears like it will reach that bar and be something great; before the wheels come off in the final act.
The acting in the film is great across the board. McConaughey, fresh off his first Oscar for the superb “Dallas Buyers Club”, shows that his 2013 was no fluke. He plays a father who is conflicted with possibly saving the human race, but while leaving his children behind for years in the process. He still has his signature droll and charm, but this is a side of McConaughey we’ve never seen. My future wife Anne Hathaway is equally as solid as McConaughey’s fellow astronaut, a woman torn between morals and emotion.
The visuals in the film are striking and much like last year’s “Gravity” there are shots that show the pure magnitude of space that will leave you breathless. On numerous occasions the camera pulls up to show the small ship riding among the sea of stars in complete silence, and for a split second it puts everything in perspective.
Everything was going great with “Interstellar”, and for a moment I thought maybe this could be the next space classic a la “2001”, but then the final act happens. I obviously can’t say much of anything without spoiling it, but it is one of those moments that while you watch it transpire you just think, “Oh. Well. Um…ok. Sure, I guess.” I really think the studio gave Nolan complete control of this project, and that may have been a slip-up on their end.
There are also the classic (at this point cliché) “Nolan-isms”, such as underdeveloped side characters, plot holes and the aforementioned unfillable scope, but they aren’t as prevalent or glaring here as with his other projects.
“Interstellar” has no right being nearly three hours long, but there was not a second during it that I was bored. The performances are great, the visuals are outstanding and there are several very well-directed moments of tension, one of which had the entire audience gasp at the same time. “Interstellar” reaches for the stars and they just barely evade its grasp, but just because it is not a stellar movie (*snickers*) does not mean it is a trip you can afford not to take.
Critics Rating: 8/10