To Talk Of Love Is One Thing, To Experience It Is Another.

Interstellar (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
4 Out Of 5 Stars


Though it’s rightfully so very mind boggling with all its hoop-lah, it falls short where it truly matters. 

“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.” – Dylan Thomas
Colossal, the feeling of experiencing something quite exquisite and exceeding of all the compositions of your accomplishments, your conclusions of humanity, your relationships, moods, feelings, and desires … this colossal phenomenon is just … more … … this … is Interstellar. 

Writer/director Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception) has washed his hands of superheroes and has taken on the voyage of heroes completely foreign to the public.  This is an epic saga, in the not too distant future, of how love transcends through all time and space, giving us the feeling of just how small we are in something quite bigger than ourselves.  To have us feel something incredibly immense yet special as we are to fight for what’s important in life, was the task taken here.  With innovative and the latest in filmmaking ability, Nolan sets us aboard “Endurance” a ship to be piloted by Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) a widower, former astronaut for NASA, to take us into the interstellar of all existence. 

To talk about how much I love my daughter (Mackenzie Foy to adult Jessica Chastain) is one thing.  I can tell my coworker at the water cooler how great she’s doing in school (or not so great in this story).  To speak of our love and how much it means to me would make the receiver of this information smile in approval.  But to feel this love, to hug my girl in arms locked ever so gently yet so tight because I haven’t seen her in awhile and I miss her, to become upset with her due to her performance in school because of this love, to cry when she cries, to reconnect after falling out of love to now feel back into it and so forth, is something else entirely (little Christopher Nolan Batman for you). 

To show me and to speak of this love between these characters is one thing; and I can really feel some emotion when you do.  But to have me EXPERIENCE this love, I’m talking when Mickey Rourke jumps off the top rope in the end of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and I’m completely in tears because I don’t want him to jump because I’m EXPERIENCING this jump with him.  I’m there with him, begging him not to, THAT is something completely different from me telling myself that I should be in tears now because Mackenzie Foy doesn’t want her father to leave on this space mission.  Now she’s running out of the house (to Hans Zimmer’s BEAUTIFUL score) and I can feel myself saying to myself, “I’m not quite there, I want to be and I’m ALMOST there, but I should be in tears right now and I’m just … not.”

This is Christopher Nolan’s biggest problem.  Interstellar is a MUCH better job at it, but just like Inception it falls short with character development.  With Inception it was so obvious with the “cookie cutter” molds of characters he and his brother Jonathan created because the focus is on the big plot twists and the cool, new technology used to give us some “cool shots”.  Interstellar wasn’t as infamously profound as Inception or even SIGNIFICANTLY worse with Gravity, another recent, grandiose, space saga.  I’m not on the “hate” side as I am with those, but I’m definitely not to an almost perfect score or perfect for that matter here. 

At a nearly 3 hour run time, we have to get into space as quickly as possible so Cooper and his team, like the lovely Anne Hathaway who I’m still not on the bandwagon for but I definitely was on board with her performance here, can save the world by finding a new place for us to resettle.  We can understand this because it’s in space where all the “cool shots” take place.  But we loose a little grounding in our story as a result, where more connection between characters is needed. 

Throughout Cooper’s mission, he gets messages from his children, like with his son now grown up (Casey Affleck) with children of his own, or his daughter (Chastain, one of my “girls”/favorite actresses) who’s now verbalizing her pain due to her father.  This was a much better attempt than with previous films of this nature, but not enough in my opinion. 

I’m starting to truly realize my connection to his work on the Batman story (and to Nolan as an artist) now as I’m seeing the same people who made that story, one with characters I’m familiar with, to now make this one, a foreign one all around; in short, no safety net. 

Hans Zimmer’s MARVELOUS score helps to capture this feeling of the substantial presence in all of existence (although The Dark Knight himself does peak his head in the melody every now and then), but it all boils down to the writing.  A too neatly tied up story in the end, with better developed characters but still not quite there, make up for a very nicely made experience that’s not quite there itself overall.  An experience that has and will do amazing in financial and award successes, yet I do feel a bit punk’d in a sense, when after all of that, it lost the opening, domestic box office weekend to the latest animated Disney film. 

Science Fiction, 169 Minutes, PG-13
Written by: Jonathan & Christopher Nolan
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Tropher Grace, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, David Oyelowo, & Michael Caine

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