After concluding his Batman trilogy two years ago, Christopher Nolan now returns to our cinemas as director of his ninth feature film. The world seems to be in agreement that there is so much to admire about Interstellar – but as we all try to fully digest the three hour experience of watching this astonishing movie, it is apparent that, for the majority, this has left a sour taste in our mouths. Interstellar opens on earth and takes its time getting off of the ground; figuratively and literally. This is an earth trying to push out human kind. The earth’s resources are exhausted and the only food source that remains is corn. This is a planet where farmers are in high demand and options are running out. Whilst society is content to find the answers to our race’s survival on earth, one man remains convinced that humanity’s future existence lies on other planets. Interstellar initially sets up a strong philosophical discussion about man’s existentialism and our role on earth. Cooper, once a promising NASA trainee pilot, remains defiant that our ownership over the dying planet is selfish and ignorant. Now a reluctant farmer, Cooper lives with his two children, farms corn and dreams of what lies beyond the atmosphere. Cooper must eventually choose between staying with his children or venturing into space in order to find a new habitat for all of human kind. Interstellar is constantly compromising itself. There is a constant strain between science fiction and science fantasy, family drama and science fiction adventure, philosophy and nonsense. Interstellar would be even more of a disappointment if it hadn’t followed the underwhelming The Dark Knight Rises – another epic genre piece that suffers from all the same problems.
There is an enthusiasm that needed to be roped in, poor plot pacing that needed to be reassessed, forced emotion that leaves its audience feeling distant and a distracting score that drowns out crucial dialogue and damages audience engagement. The film’s final chapter is insultingly sentimental and, after two hours of trying to remain invested, it’s exasperating to watch. However impressive this film’s visuals are it doesn’t alter the fact that this is a really difficult film to enjoy. You have to work really hard at your relationship with Interstellar and are left wanting to divorce it. I left the screening feeling torn; there are happy memories to cherish but the pain is too great and the fight to find happiness is too tedious. What makes Nolan’s greatest works so respectable is the respect he shows to his audience. The Prestige, Memento, The Dark Knight Rises and, most importantly, Inception, never doubted the viewer’s intelligence. Interstellar feels this constant need to over-explain and pander; heavily destroying its credibility. Visual mastery like this needs to be seen on the big screen – preferably in IMAX. My experience was certainly hindered by the obvious strain placed on my small multiplex’s speakers and projection whilst it struggled to host such a gigantic film. The performances are good but nothing exceptional. The most positive thing to be said is that I was not irritated by Matthew McConaughey as I presumed I would be. I actually preferred him in this to in Dallas Buyers Club in which the Oscar-winning intention was a little too obvious. Interstellar fought me the whole way and surrendered spectacularly in its closing half an hour. Interstellar looks unbelievable but everything impressive is overshadowed by everything insulting.
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.