Film Review – Interstellar (2014)

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Title: Interstellar (2014)

Director: Christopher Nolan (Memento)

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, David Gyasi, John Lithgow, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy

Plot: In the future our Earth is slowly dying, man’s only option to find a new home amongst the stars. Pilot and single parent Cooper (McConaughey) must make the agonising decision to pilot mankind’s last hope of finding a new home and face the prospect of never seeing his family again. On board the Endurance the men and women on this intergalactic trek will head through wormholes and into the unknown and discover new worlds both beautiful and frightening.

 “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt”

Review by Eddie on 10/11/2014

Disclaimer – this review is based on the IMAX version of Interstellar

A cinematic experience of the highest order, I imagine Interstellar will be many different things to many different people; a movie that will inspire thought, flame imagination and push filmmaking in a varied myriad of new and exciting directions. Yet it will also be a film that divides the masses, as we’ve seen already with critics. While many will herald the vision and scope of Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious film yet, there will be equal amounts that find fault in its lofty goals, pick holes in its unashamedly mawkish sentiments and then there’s those that think Matthew McConaughey might mumble just a little too much. Taking a very personal approach to a movie I feel deeply awe struck by, I will be one of those many people that completely and faithfully stick by a film that for years to come will be a new benchmark in not only the Sci-Fi genre but movie making as a whole.

Naming Interstellar as my most anticipated movie of the year was based on Christopher Nolan’s impeccable track record at crafting lofty and masterfully made movies. Over a period of nearly two decades now, the British auteur has oft delved into the human condition, whether it be our memories, our dreams or our dark knights, Nolan has always reached for the stars and never more literally than in his most affecting tale here. That critics have found flaws and faults in this journey bemuses me greatly, and in saying journey I truly believe this is as close as we could ever come as an audience to such an expedition (not since the Lord of the Rings trilogy had I felt so immersed in a world, in a trek). Critical backlashes to Interstellar confounds me so, as finding flaws here makes me wonder where these critics were for Nolan’s previous productions. From Following right through to his most flawed yet thoroughly enjoyable Inception, Nolan’s films have always been far from foolproof experiences yet nit-picking them would be taking away from the abundance of cinematic genius that lays so openly before us. Interstellar without question is riddled with moments and with scenarios that are very far from perfect, yet what encompasses them is something one can only marvel at.

Displaying a directional tone and an emotional depth that imposes maturity on an already mature beyond-his-years filmmaker, Interstellar sees Nolan open up new dimensions both literally and in a directional sense, and there is a heart here I’ve never seen from Nolan, an emotional core that beats so strongly even as we venture deeper and deeper into the unknown with McConaughey’s Cooper and his crew of mankind’s saviours. There are ideas here that not only click your mind into overdrive, but a beating pulse that drives this adventure into the affecting material it becomes. This is Nolan at his finest and we see yet another stunning turn from the born-again McConaughey, with a scene where Cooper watches videos now years old of his family particularly showcasing the power of McConaughey as an actor and he is without question the rock that allows Interstellar to be built upon. There are also visuals to wow the mind here, fantastic cinematography work by new Nolan DOP Hoyte Van Hoytema and a score by Hans Zimmer that must surely be one of the most finely crafted film musical accompaniments of the modern movie era, and there is a general sense of overall excellence to a production that clearly wanted to do justice to its master’s grand visions.

Once more on a personal note, I was starting to question the power of modern day movies to engage in an entertainment sense, an emotional sense and in a thought provoking manner but Interstellar has wholeheartedly showcased to me once more the power the medium holds when produced in such a splendid manner. Sure Anne Hathaway can be annoying, yes no doubt some of the dialogue may clunk and do we really need our movies 100% scientifically accurate? These criticisms of the film are valid to a point; but they’re also criticisms of a film that do not in any way, shape or form matter. Put your prejudices aside, allow yourself to be carried away on the Endurance and Nolan’s cinematic treat will take you on a movie trip unlike any other (even when paying homage to Sci-Fi greats that have preceded it). A startling example of the power of big budget movie making and a wonderful vision come to life, Interstellar is not only the big screen movie of the year but an all-time classic that I for one can guarantee will be talked about and studied for years to come by a raft of not only movie lovers, but movie makers, inspired to reach for the unknown just like Nolan did here.

5 A-listers in cryogenic sleep out of 5

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41 responses to “Film Review – Interstellar (2014)

  1. I think you enjoyed this much more than I did. I saw ‘Interstellar’ at IMAX and while visually and technically excellent, the film fails on a storytelling level, particularly given its nonsensical third act! Well written, but I can’t say I agree with all your points!

    • Hey bud, glad we can agree on the visuals 🙂 I appreciate how Interstellar will prompt different responses from almost every viewer. It would be with trepidation that I recommend it to just anyone I come across as there just as likely to loathe it or love it. I for one lapped it all up but can see everyone’s point of view is here quiete valid.
      E

  2. Saw the movie last night and it totally lived up to the hype!

    Oh man, what a trip this movie was!

    *SPOILERS BELOW*

    I understand the criticisms of the movie from the critics and as you said, I agree that it doesn’t diminish the movie at all.

    Because a movie like Interstellar is an “experience”. The first two acts of the movie thinking “Hmm… this is some good shit, but so far, I haven’t been wowed yet. It hasn’t quite blown me away.”

    Then the third act happens with that final wormhole sequence and the fifth dimensional Library scene and I was just like “holy shit man! this is some truly next level shit! The visuals, Hans Zimmer’s score, McConaughey’s performance as he bangs on the wall telling himself to “STAY”.”

    And then the reunion with his daughter, goddamnit I was trying so hard to hold back the tears lol

    A lot of the criticisms also shit on the science of it, well, after all, it IS a science-FICTION film, and not a documentary, so some liberties have to be taken.

    And already there are a lot of theories floating around which can be debated about like did McConaughey die once he entered the wormhole? Because of that talk he had with Matt Damon about how we see our children when we die. but yeah, blah blah blah.

    Boy, what a movie!

    • Mate so happy to hear.

      Some ripping points you have laid out here and part of the joys of this movie is reading such things from those that have been wowed by it.

      I think it has become a cool thing to diss Nolan and perhaps an even cooler thing to diss this film but those doing so are doing it with some seriously misjudged critiques.

      I think if you let this one take you on the journey and you don’t look to fault it at every waking minute, it’ll wow you, emotionally get you and just generally make you love movie experiences as big and as thoughtful as this.
      E

  3. Wow. Kudos, man. Your review is spot-on. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve also found that many of Nolan’s critics do little more than nit-pick films that are clearly operating in the rarefied air of genius.

    • Cheers Doug. It’s great to hear others feel the same and I know as many haters that will be out there, there will be just as many believers. I really feel this is right on par with Dark Knight as Nolan’s best film and by far his most emotionally strong.
      E

  4. I was telling my wife during dinner that I just didn’t have time today to do an Interstellar review the justice it deserved, but I did what I could. I didn’t want to wait until next weekend to knock something out. We came home from dinner and then I saw your review and was like, “Holy cow. Was this guy reading my mind?” I’m glad that a good number of people will read your review and see Nolan’s film before it exits the theaters. I wanted to shake your hand when you said, “Interstellar has wholeheartedly showcased to me once more the power the medium holds when produced in such a splendid manner.” Agreed!

    • That’s nice of you to say Doug and it’s fantastic to hear someone relate to my review in such a manner so cheers for sharing 🙂 I hope to hear of more people like yourself and me that had similar great experiences with this journey.
      E

  5. Wow. I don’t know if it’s your writing or just the way you reminded me of why I loved this film so much but I felt an immense satisfaction after reading this review. My exact thoughts, very well stated. Awesome job.

    • Thanks dude! I wrote it all up as soon as I got home after the screening and the next day as I read over it I felt like I had said as much as I could about this marvellous film. I hope all film lovers make the trek to see it at the cinema, regardless of what they think of it afterwards.
      E

  6. But is criticizing valid negative aspects of Interstellar, such as its screenplay and pacing (not the science)… considered nitpicking? Or should these flaws be given a pass just because the name “Nolan” is attached to it?

    Man of Steel suffered the same problems with its pacing and screenplay, yet it was ripped apart relentlessly.

    Personal bias seems to play a large part to Interstellar’s reception. One could say how film critics find no flaw or fault to be just as bemusing. But to resort to referring to those who’ve pointed out the problems as “haters” for not shrugging off the problems like the “believers”, doesn’t really indicate a neutral stance that this blog has shown in the past.

    In fact, it sort of trickles immense bias.

    • Intriguing points mate, I guess criticism for Interstellar so far has me a little bemused as most of the problems with it are all prevalent in Nolan’s other films but for the sake of just enjoying what lays before their eyes it seemed there was less backlash towards them.

      The other thing that seems irritating is the fact people are bemoaning the science to this film – a film that is not a Discovery Channel doco but merely a fictional story that masks many interesting ideas about our universe and our human condition.
      E

    • As someone who enjoyed both MoS and Interstellar (but loved neither), I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. Whether you love or can’t stand him, Nolan-lovers/haters seem to have trouble distinguishing subjective enjoyment (or lack thereof) from objective assessment of cinematic quality.

  7. Fantastic review. I watched Interstellar over the weekend, and it was my most anticipated movie for 2014, as well. It was an amazing experience, flaws and all, so worth the wait!

  8. I’m back again to report on my 2nd viewing of the movie.

    Any questions I had upon my first viewing were answered during the second.

    Honestly, I think the critics are just too stupid to understand this movie. Nolan carefully lays out every bit of key information throughout the movie, sometimes IN YOUR FACE, but most of the time, very subtly, whether it’s in 1 line of dialogue or a split-second visual shot.

    Any so-called plotholes that critics have highlighted aren’t even plotholes when I think about it. They just didn’t pay attention. It’s all there. (even from the opening scene)

    I believe Interstellar is way ahead of the game in terms of representing these scientific theories with regard to gravity/dimensions and all that. I believe this will be a 2001-type situation where that movie was panned by some upon release but look at it now.

    The emotional impact of the movie was just as strong the second time. There were more people during my seecond viewing and I could easily hear people sniffing during that scene where McConaughey watched the 23 years worth of video messages and especially in the last 5mins with his reunion with his daughter and that mesmerising score by Hans Zimmer as Cooper steals the ship to go after Brand.

    That’s cinema at its best right there. When the visuals, music and storytelling all come together perfectly to deliver an emotional impact.

    To me, great films are films that are memorable. Interstellar expanded my mind about what’s possible and touched my soul by reminding me of the simplest thing such as love and for that, I think it’s a masterpiece and deserves ten million Oscars lol

    Eff the critics!

    • Hahah some downright fantastic thoughts Tuan! I would have to agree with virtually everything you said and I’m personally awaiting a chance to get to the cinema again to see it for the second time as this one’s power is only magnified by the big screen.

      It’s interesting you mention the audience as my audience was the same (bar 1 person playing candy crush the whole way through) and in moments of the silence the audience stayed silence to and the emotional moments had a clear impact on all.

      Oscars are what this film deserves.
      E

  9. Good review, but you liked this way more than me. While I wasn’t bored I was somehow disappointed despite the good acting and the terrific cinematography. Not being able to hear some of the dialogue was a real turn off for me.

    • Oh sad to hear Joan, I must say there have been countless reports of sound being off in screenings and while I didn’t find that at my screening in particular I can see how that would affect the overall viewing experience. I would love to see the cinematography rewarded come awards season.
      E

  10. Checked it out yesterday… Went in with very low expectations after the Nolan disappointed me big with TDKR plus its trailers weren’t that intriguing for me in addition to the polarising critical reception… I have to say that I was just.. WOW!

    Went in hoping to be disappointed but came out with a smile. Excellent review, Ed. Although I won’t rate it 5/5 but it’s refreshingly good.

    • It was refreshing to me as well mate, big budget filmmaking at it’s very best I felt. Glad you dug it to man and I think I’ll always look forward to whatever Nolan is working on.
      E

  11. Really enjoyed your interview, man. The movie was definitely mind blowing. Really detailed and insightful review, keep up the good work, man 🙂

  12. I don’t think I’m going to get to see this in theaters because I’m so behind on so many things, but it’s definitely one I’ll get to eventually. How does it compare to Gravity? I’ve heard if I see Interstellar, it is almost required of me to see Gravity and compare the two.

    • Personally, I don’t think comparing the two is required or even useful, really. They’re like apples and oranges; as E says, they’re completely different things. Although it’s set in space, ‘Gravity’ isn’t science fiction; the International Space Station, space shuttles, astronauts, and debris orbiting Earth all exist. ‘Interstellar’ is absolutely science fiction, with advanced technologies, interstellar travel, etc etc. I’d say they even focus on different themes, too.

  13. I agree that there’s such a thing as too much nitpicking when it comes to a film. I’m sure there are physicists out there who walked out of ‘Interstellar’ in an outrage over over Nolan’s portrayal of wormholes or something. But as much as I enjoyed it, this film definitely has problems that are fair game because they’re common sense.

    *SPOILERS*

    One example is that a high-stakes space exploration project could be so close to launch without a pilot lined up, and that the one they finally choose requires no training whatsoever.
    Also, the whole subplot with Casey Affleck’s family on the farm is riddled with problems. Sure, after years of breathing all that dust, of course their lungs would be in bad shape, but Topher Grace says they need to leave ‘NOW,’ as if one more breath will kill them. Uh, sorry, doesn’t work that way. And you’d think his wife, who already lost one child, would actually put up a fight when he says all of them, including their surviving child, are staying. Instead, she seems totally fine with it until Chastain rushes her out the door. Finally, I almost laughed when Grace grabs the tire iron when he sees Affleck returning. Affleck did not ever show any signs of violence, even as a child, so why does everyone act like he’s going to throw down? It all seems like it has nothing to do with the characters themselves, but that the filmmakers thought, “Hey, we need to amp up the tension here, so let’s do this.”

    The film does have a lot going for it, and I was never bored, but these issues, and others like them, sucked some of the light out of the film faster than a black hole. 😉

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