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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Movie Review - Interstellar

Interstellar (2014)
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Timothée Chalamet, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine
Directed by Christopher Nolan

I was extremely wary about Interstellar.  During its theatrical run, I found myself avoiding it due to its nearly three-hour running time and the much-gossiped about notion that its story was too talky and too befuddling.  So, with trepidation I sat down to watch director and co-screenwriter Christopher Nolan's Interstellar in one sitting not expecting to enjoy myself.  Obviously, this lede is insinuating that I liked the film and that intimation would be true.  While not without its faults, Interstellar is a surprisingly action-filled drama that, while certainly "deep" and a bit convoluted, is much easier to comprehend than I expected.

To make a (very) long story short, Earth is dying and within several years, it will be uninhabitable.  While driving around with his daughter one evening, former astronaut Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) stumbles upon a secret NASA facility wherein scientists are building a spaceship that can send a crew to explore the far regions of space to look for another planet that can sustain human life.  Much to his daughter Murph's (Mackenze Foy) chagrin, Cooper agrees to take part in the mission which will likely take him away from home for several years.  This connection between father and daughter continues to take shape as the film progresses with Murph aging into a young woman (played by Jessica Chastain) and Cooper still out in space.

Interstellar works best when it finds itself in space.  There's a harrowing sense of anticipation and excitement in nearly every story element as Cooper and his fellow astronauts (Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentlely, and David Gyasi) desperately struggle to find a place where the human race can survive for eons to come.  As they journey from planet to planet, they're forced to make some tough decisions which are intellectually complex, though at the same time fathomable to the general movie-going public.

Unfortunately, Insterstellar takes a long time to actually get Cooper up into space.  For nearly an hour, we find Cooper and his family bemoaning the state of the Earth and then debating whether Cooper should take on the space mission.  I remember about forty minutes in looking at how much time was left and getting antsy that there was still nearly two hours to go.  I recognize the need to set up a father/daughter relationship in the first act, but Nolan and his co-screenwriter brother Jonathan fail to keep things moving and the languid pace weighs down the entire film.

As mentioned, though, once we're in space, Interstellar becomes an intriguing film.  The special effects are top notch and the sound design (which got dinged a bit by critics who watched the film in theaters) works fine on a small screen sound system.  The acting is solid, but I had a few qualms with Matthew McConaughey's lead performance as Cooper.  First, I wanted him to open his damn mouth when he talked because multiple times it sounded as if he was talking with a handful of marbles in his mouth.  Perhaps more importantly, though, I felt that he looked bored for most of the flick.  Unlike other characters who were desperately trying to save their planet and complete a successful mission, McConaughey's Cooper didn't convey that sense of urgency.  While there are certainly moments in space during which McConaughey successfully showcases his emotions as a father longing to be reunited with his children, overall I felt that Cooper left me longing to connect with him seeing as how he was the crux of the whole film.

Despite some qualms, Interstellar actually provides a rather enjoyable experience.  Did I understand everything that happens at the end as the film veers into some weird metaphysical stuff?  Nope.  But I at least didn't feel like I was completely oblivious to the proceedings.  If you were wary like me to see this because of these fears of confusion (or simply because of the film's length), let me brush those aside for you and beckon you to give Interstellar a chance.

The RyMickey Rating:  B


  1. Erg. Maybe I'll give it a go and try to watch, then.

  2. I feel your "erg." I definitely do. Try and get into a mindset before you watch it and try and forget the exorbitant running time. I'm not saying you'll "get" everything, but it's kinda nice someone is making some odd and (I think?) intelligent movies like this.