Country: USA, Great Britain
Running Time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine, trans-Neptunian black hole
Nobody can say that Interstellar lacks ambition. Christopher Nolan’s latest film tackles on our future, exploration of space, wormholes, human mortality and the nature of love. Even with a running time of almost three hours, themes of Interstellar are almost too big for it. And it shows.
Behind the film’s epic vision are story and characterizations that I can best describe as, well, clunky. Characters don’t really talk to each other: they mostly exchange thoughts about Big Questions. The plot begins through a set of unbelievable coincidences that are eventually explained but nevertheless remain a clumsy way to establish a story. And it’s hard to ignore the way terrifying problems appear and are almost immediately solved or safely ignored. Earth is dying… But look at our spaceship! Space exploration is our last hope… but we only have one spaceship. Also, due to time dilation there’s a chance you might spend decades alone in a tiny space capsule. We could ponder such soul-crushing experience but let us instead explore this alien planet!
By themselves, these are all minor problems. But in a film filled with them, they start to chip away from both the film’s epic story and our suspension of disbelief. And that’s a shame because Interstellar is a big, serious science fiction film rarely seen in cinemas nowadays. It takes the audience into outer space and other worlds showing them majestic vistas that almost feel like an abstract painting come to life. Accompanied by organ-heavy musical score by Hans Zimmer, these visuals convey something the film’s story fails to do: that universe is so vast and inimical to human life that its exploration is a remarkable feat.
And then we get a scene of astronauts punching each other on another planet. I guess that a story about man’s place in universe just wasn’t dramatic enough.
The real question Interstellar asks isn’t about true nature of love or about mankind’s destiny but this: faced with a hugely ambitious yet deeply flawed film, how much of its imperfections are we willing to accept because we would like to see more such films? This is important because alternative to Interstellar isn’t another ambitious and original SF film but competently made and utterly bland blockbuster made as a part of an existing franchise.
Answer that question and you’ll know if Interstellar is a film for you.