“Interstellar” directed by Christopher Nolan, is a visually stunning space drama that sometimes stumbles in provoking awe. Meshing the cold wires of science fiction with warm family drama, you can feel the worlds of Spielberg and Kubrick colliding. It often feels packed with too many ideas for it to be a coherent statement on anything. Watch this for this for its ambition and fine acting; even with faults the movie is never less than exhilarating. Less about aliens and space battles, it’s more about manning a machine and achieving the impossible – in the vein of “The Right Stuff.”
Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a farmer living in a rural dust-bowl-like society, where the plant disease blight has wiped out most of the world’s crops – draining the world of oxygen. These scenes depict a planet completely covered in dust; it feels realistic (no ruling class – just disintegration). Cooper lives with daughter Murphy (Early: Mackenzie Foy – Later: Jessica Chastain) and a son; the former relationship serving the movie’s heart. Their relationship comes at stake when Cooper finds NASA headquarters, and becomes assigned to front a spaceship in order to save the human race.
(Spoiler Alert) With a plan to travel through a black hole – they must test Kip Thorne’s theory of space travel, to reach other planets. With a crew consisting of Doctor Brand (Anne Hathaway) – and other stock characters – they blast off. Things are never straightforward; Nolan throws in surprises along that change the events considerably. As it becomes more involved with space exploration, it loses sight of the family drama that grounded it. For me there was a divide between its special effects and story – with the plot holes and inconsistencies beginning to accumulate. And the ending refuses to offer any logical explanation, solely used as a plot device that feels implausible.
The movie attempts to weave science-fiction in the fabrics of humanity, showing how they are interconnected (one cannot exist without the other.) It always works on a visceral and visual level, but the intelligent material gets lost in thematic overreach. The acting is fantastic; McConaughey gives a warm and grounded portrait of a devoted father (if sentimental at times). The best is Chastain who gives an emotional performance, yet her character doesn’t get the powerful ending the father/daughter relationship deserved. I don’t dislike this movie; I think it’s something everyone should see – it’s smart entertainment.
(2 1/2 out of 4 stars)
(Released: October 26, 2014)