Director: Christopher Nolan
There has been much of an either love it or hate it review for this latest Christopher Nolan Film, Interstellar (2014). In my opinion, this film stands as homage to classical science fiction writing. Like all of Nolan’s films, I feel very safe when watching his work. Like I’m being lead on a journey that I don’t quite understand, but feel safe in knowing that where I end up will be fine. I do enjoy a lot of his work. I believe the 1st that I came to screen was The Prestige (2006) and to me, that film was fantastic.
Interstellar (2014) throws you into a period of decline, where hope is slipping away and the world is left alone. The Earth is slowly being covered by dust, and the human race need to find another planet to inhabit. Space travel, the lapse of time and the displacement of family and person becomes very prominent. Unlike popular Science Fiction of recent times, Interstellar (2014) uses the human sensibilities of different people affected by varying levels of abandonment and loneliness to accentuate the characteristics of classical Science Fiction. This is the reason why this film soars. I loved this film because it took chances. Unlike a lot of similar scale and space expatiation films, Interstellar (2014), used high realism and sound to really amp the experience of traversing space.
Traditionally, Science Fiction was a genre that could fit as a subset of any other genre. It chose to be a story about the human condition in times of apocalyptic events and the instinctual need to survive. As a story teller, Nolan has a wonderful method of creating symbolism and imagery that are quintessential and classical. I really enjoy this technique because it pays homage to sound and proper storytelling. Themes of abandonment, loneliness, displacement and love intertwine neatly, at times, to create a gripping story. I think this project for Nolan was one of Classical Science Fiction nostalgia. Unlike directors like Tarantino, this nostalgia is very simple and subtle. Homage to “Robbie the Robot” (Forbidden Planet, 1957), “HAL 9000 ” (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968) and many others were subtly alluded to in this film. Famous Russian filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) can be seen as a forefather of the Science Fiction genre. His films dealt a lot with displacement and survival, against a backdrop of the world’s demise. His most notable work is Solaris (1972) and Stalker (1979), where screen composition and sound were paramount. Nolan most definitely referenced these films in sound and certain set compositions. The Sound Score used was very minimalist, but impacting and the use of breathing sounds, absence of sound and the heightening repetition of a beep, really created tension and had you on the edge of your seat.
Despite all these positives, I can sympathise with those that found this film to not be a good one. There were some issues with the editing of the film. There needed to be more editing on the earth sequences at the beginning of the film and more time on the planets visited in the later parts of the film. Likewise, some cuts closer to the end of the film were done more as a time saver rather than doing justice to the understanding of the entire film. As well, the ending could have happened 10 mins earlier, and would have left the audience in a place of intrigue and excitement ( Like Inception, 2010). Attention to this would have grabbed the audience more and kept them invested in the story longer. I do like when a director talks intelligently to its audience, but at times, Nolan over explains certain concepts and sometimes dumbs the situation. This is a bit of a downer for a film like Interstellar (2014) because the concepts of space and time are big, that over explaining adds holes to the interpretation of the concept and so puts more holes in the believability of the story as a whole. Because of this, I felt the film had a lot of plot questions and left certain characters rather erratic and irrational. This weighted the film resulting in the story feeling sluggish. We know that Nolan is a fantastic writer, but Interstellar (2014) wasn’t his best. The scientific “Space and Physics Theory” (which were actually very close to realistic and possible) , gigantic scale and story to be told of Interstellar (2014) were wonderful, however, the writing and characters weren’t tight and strong; and this most definitely weighed on the film.
I will give Interstellar (2014) 3.5 out of 5 stars. I think it is a film that everyone should see, it takes you on a journey that is expanse, epic and exciting; a visual wonder. I hope you enjoyed this review and please look out for more soon to come.