“Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Interstellar was my most anticipated film of the year so my expectations for this film were huge considering the subject matter and the fact that I am a Christopher Nolan fanboy. Despite the several flaws I found with the script, I wasn’t disappointed, but I can understand how this might not work for several audiences. First of all the scale of this film was huge even for a Nolan film. He is such a visionary director and he doesn’t settle for simple narratives. The script is so complicated at times that it does make you wonder and ask yourself questions about the logic behind the theories. I’m no expert in quantum physics, but I think Nolan does a pretty convincing job of selling it. He did his research along with his brother and they created a solid sci-fi script. Many people complained about the fact that Nolan sometimes explains his plot to the audience instead of just letting them figure it out, but I find it necessary at times because of the complex structure he elaborates for his films. He enjoys creating these puzzles, but at the same time he helps us put the pieces together. Interstellar is one of my favorite films of the year, but I wouldn’t rank it amongst Nolan’s top 5 best films. If there is someone who can make a film about physics interesting it’s Nolan and he manages to do so in this nearly three hour film. This is by far his most ambitious film, but it does fail at being the ultimate space epic film it so desperately tries to be. However there isn’t a dull moment in Interstellar and you are never bored by the world he creates. Unfortunately the final payoff of the film isn’t as rewarding as I was hoping it to be. The final 20 minutes of the film are perhaps the weakest part of the movie and it sort of tries to wrap everything neatly at the end like most Blockbuster and commercial films try to do.
I know I have complained a bit too much about a film I really enjoyed, but I will now try to explain why this is one of my favorite films of the year. First of all the cast in this film is brilliant. There is no better time to cast Matthew McConaughey in a film than now. He had a fantastic 2013 and MUD was my favorite film of that year. He was also amazing in True Detective so I was ecstatic about him joining Nolan’s cast for this film. He is great in the lead role and provides some of the most engaging emotional moments of the film. Despite how highly ambitious the subject matter of the film is and how colossal his task, he manages to keep things small by narrowing it all down to the family dynamics (especially through his relationship with his daughter). He is not saving humanity, he is trying to save his daughter. We believe the sacrifice he is making and it is what makes the humanity aspects of this film work. He is going through an inner conflict of accomplishing his purpose by saving humanity while realizing that he has abandoned his children and is missing being a part of that. Jessica Chastain is also great in this film. She is a talented actress and is at a great moment in her career as well. The most emotional scenes of Interstellar revolve around her relationship with her father (McConaughey). There is a scene midway through the film where he receives a message from her in space that is emotionally gripping. Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway team up once again for a Nolan film and deliver despite not having such interesting characters. Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, and Topher Grace were underused, but they are all talented actors. The cast in this film is superb and they lifted this visionary tale even further. But the casting isn't the only element that Nolan gets right. The visuals in this film are fantastic! I was blown away by the scenes that took place in space. The first act of this film is solid and establishes the present world on Earth in a rather realistic way, but the second act raises the film to another level. The scenes in space and the wormhole are amazing. It also becomes suspenseful and full of tension. Unfortunately the third act didn't work as well for me and the ending was a bit too touchy feely. The score in this film by Zimmer was fantastic as usual and helps build the emotion.
So in summary the film is incredibly well shot, it has astonishing photography, superb visual effects, an awesome cast and score, and one spectacular robot. The robot in this film has to be one of the best I've seen. He is also the funniest character and helps lighten the serious tone of the film. I loved Interstellar, but if you had issues with the explanation and exposition in Nolan's Inception, than you will have a similar experience with this film because there is a lot of exposition in space about the theories and what it all means. I have no problem whatsoever with this because it is simply part of Nolan's trademark. He wants us to understand every small detail of the plot because he has worked and studied these things before putting them on the script and he doesn't want the audience to miss out on his creative process. Interstellar doesn't get a perfect grade from me because it isn't as epic as it is trying to be, but I will give Nolan a lot of credit for his ambition and for delivering a fun action thriller with huge ideas. It also pays homage to early sci-fi films like 2001, Solaris, and Contact. The film has taken a lot of processing from me since I first saw it and that is what I look for in movies. I am sure I will be revisiting this film soon because it was a fun experience and one I am sure will generate a lot of debate amongst movie lovers. Interstellar is a carefully crafted and well executed film and Nolan continues to prove himself as one of my favorite contemporary directors.