For Reel

Interstellar (2014)
November 13, 2014, 3:24 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Christopher Nolan
3 Stars
InterstellarInterstellar has its finger on the pulse of what makes effective science fiction so successful. It’s backdrop–a few astronauts traveling through a wormhole in a last-ditch effort to save humanity–becomes little more than a canvas to explore greater metaphysical aspirations. As obsessed as Christopher Nolan is with plot (and this film, with relatively theory seemingly re-explained every three pages of the screenplay, does not shy away from his much parodied insistence on exposition), he’s a sentimentalist at heart. While detractors of Interstellar have joked about the absurd simplicity of a “love conquers all” ethos, they’re glossing over Nolan’s chief anxiety of regret. Nearly all of the drama explicitly or implicitly involves the questions, “Did I make the right decision? Do I have enough time?”, perhaps summed up most successfully in a scene in which Matthew McConaughey must watch a tape of his son aging twenty years. Scenes like that work, but a lot else doesn’t. Nolan’s Griffithian fascination with parallel editing (used effectively in Inception) largely misses the mark here–a fist-fight intercut with a cornfield being set ablaze relieves both of tension and only amplifies the goofiness of the former situation. When Nolan shows that he can effectively tug at heartstrings in scenes like the aforementioned encounter between McConaughey and a videotape, it becomes all the more frustrating that his obsessions as a filmmaker involve the grandiose and, frankly, ridiculous.