Film Review: Interstellar

Interstellar

With the Earth’s food supplies running out, farmer and former astronaut Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) travels across the universe in search of an alternative home for Earth’s inhabitants.

There are few directors whose films generate as much excitement as Christopher Nolan’s. And for good reason. With a back catalogue to date including Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception, Nolan might not be prolific but he certainly knows how to make a film.

Which brings us on to Interstellar, his most ambitious project yet, which given the head fuck that was Inception, is no mean feat.

What starts off on Earth as a relatively low key drama soon expands to the far reaches of our universe and beyond. Space exploration in films is of course nothing new but here it feels special for the most part, and some of that is down to the film being routed in realism. Sure, some of the science may not totally add up, but much of the film (the first two thirds in particular) feels plausible and not beyond the realms of possibility. It’s both exciting and scary to think this may one day become science fact rather than fiction.

Space exploration is only one aspect of the film, however, and as with the majority of Nolan’s films, Interstellar has family at its heart. It owes a debt to Robert Zemeckis’ Contact in this respect, knowing all the while that Cooper’s daughter Murph (but weirdly not his son) is at the forefront of his mind. It adds some emotional weight to the story that hasn’t worked for some but I thought gave the film a more human feel.

Black Hole in Insterstellar

Unfortunately, this good work is partly undone by some pretty hefty plot contrivances and whole strands of story that simply don’t work. Matt Damon’s brief storyline, for example, just feels forced and unnecessary, whilst trying to work out how Cooper ended up finding the NASA headquarters and being involved in the mission makes less sense than anything else that happens in the film.

But what Interstellar lacks on plot and script, it more than makes up for in ambition and grandeur. It looks absolutely stunning for a start, particularly some of the shots in the depths of space, whilst its final act is a brave one for a mainstream blockbuster. It does things other films would be afraid to do and should be applauded for that. It takes its cues from 2001: A Space Odyssey and whilst it does fall some way short of Kubrick’s masterpiece, it’s still quite the spectacle.

All the actors give decent performances with Matthew McConnaughey, Anna Hathaway and Jessica Chastain all handling their roles pretty well. None are particularly spectacular but do what they need to do when they need to do it.  However, it’s Mackenzie Foy as the young Murph who truly sparkles and adds some real emotional clout to the film. Foy’s character is central to everything happening to the film and fortunately she carries such pressure with ease.

Interstellar is not Christopher Nolan’s best film but is still a film to be appreciated, if just for its technical achievements. Like Gravity, it may not have the strongest script but is a visual marvel and will make you realise why you fell in love with cinema, particularly if you’re a sci-fi can. See it on the biggest screen possible and just drink it in.

Pros

  • Amazing cinematography
  • Pure cinema at times
  • Great performance by Mackenzie Foy

Cons

  • Some horrible plot contrivances
  • Some sections *cough* Matt Damon *cough* just don’t work

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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27 thoughts on “Film Review: Interstellar

  1. Stu says:

    I’m pretty much in agreement with you Chris although I think you liked it a little bit more than me. Big and bold, but I could do without some of the family schmaltz to be honest.

  2. Zoë says:

    Great work here Chris! I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this, flaws and all, although it definitely isn’t his greatest. It was just beautiful to look at!

  3. sati says:

    Yeah that Damon sublot…it was loaded by so many unintentionally hilarious bits too. It was just the biggest cliche of all – to have crazy scientist pop up and waste 20 minutes of the movie. I loved McConaughey’s work here but the script was ridiculous. The film had so many awful bits but some truly magnificent elements too – the messages from home scene, docking scene, the ending…it was ultimately a very silly film but some of the emotional moments still worked thanks to Matt and the score. Ultimately a very average film, though.

    • Yeah the whole Damon thing just didn’t work at all for me, it took me right out of the film. It was above average for me, purely because of the spectacle and ambition of it. It’s just a shame that it wasn’t tightened up in some places. I hope Nolan isn’t going down the Tarantino route of self indulgence.

  4. keith7198 says:

    Glad you liked it. I really had no problem whatsoever with Damon’s character and subplot mainly because it gives us a lot of information that feeds the main story. But again I’m glad you enjoyed it. I thought it was absolute brilliance.

  5. CMrok93 says:

    Didn’t always make perfect sense, but it was hardly ever dull. Which is, yes, a total compliment. Good review Chris.

  6. rozeminho says:

    I didn’t even know Damon was in the film, so it was a nice surprise followed by an unsurprising plot twist, still made for an awesome edge of the seat scene though. Awesome review.

  7. I loved Anne Hathaway but overall this film left me cold. I thought it was so dull and I just couldn’t connect emotionally.

  8. Hard to disagree with you mate. Not Nolan’s best as you mentioned, although I desperately wanted it to be. Many moments are pure cinema; others let it down. A fine summation.

  9. Nostra says:

    Although the movie has a few issues I too really liked it for what it is doing, dealing with complex scientific concepts and making them understandable.

  10. ruth says:

    I’d agree w/ you on the plot contrivances, Chris. “Interstellar is not Christopher Nolan’s best film but is still a film to be appreciated, if just for its technical achievements …” Yep exactly. I do rate Gravity higher than this one as it was more emotionally engaging for me.

  11. jackdeth72 says:

    So, are there little green men? Or very tall and lithe “grays”?

  12. Ashley says:

    Lots of pigeons there, the movie sounds promising. I will soon watch it.

  13. Abbi says:

    You liked this a lot more than I did…

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