Interstellar ★★★½

Mind-twisting in both positive and negative ways, the famous guy’s new colossally ambitious theoretical science-fiction epic attempts to simultaneously break the usual thematic storytelling standards and remain in safe territory with sentimental-clichés and an unnecessary spoon-feeding voiceover that can situate the audiences in a more comfortable zone without making the daring move of inviting them to push themselves into further reflection or complex thought.

This is my most basic complaint against the movie, from which all positive and negative feelings in my overall experience are derived from. The problem is the lack of correlation between this attempt at surpassing our notions of time, space, reality and physical dimensions, all contemplated from a purely theoretical perspective of metaphysical transcendence and tangibility, with a technique that seems so moviegoer-friendly that it even suggests that it is treating us as little children with little comprehension capabilities. Notice that this doesn’t mean the film had to be ultimately silent or non-explanatory about its content, but that the incredibly complex material presented and its execution are not positively complimentary constituents.

But then again, the entire premise, plot and delivery have sparks of pulse-pounding brilliance which excitement effect comes primarily from the immaculate score by Hans Zimmer (probably his best piece of work so far), more than from Nolan’s distinctive attention to detail, which he hasn’t lost still. From the very beginning, Nolan’s films often carry some sense of excitement rarely conveyed by modern blockbuster Hollywood directors because he managed in the past to apply his very exciting aesthetic and plot-pacing mechanisms into a genre of cinema that belongs almost entirely to entertainment. That’s a Blockbuster: like Spielberg’s Jurassic Park – the most recent example I can think of that awesomely illustrates what I’m trying to say here in terms of pure entertainment value while being a heck of a very good film – an adrenaline rush is almost guaranteed since the beginning with a name like Nolan. Oddly enough, the film starts with a different tone, with a confusing documentary style that blew my mind in expectations to see what new card Nolan had. Was this a card played to communicate nostalgia? Or would I probably face a chameleonic, multiphacetic feature with a versatile style?

Actually no.

But the excitement came alright. The massiveness of the repercussions that must be talked about when bringing the five dimensions to the table – as well as Stephen Hawking’s (again theoretical) work on the effect that the gravitational pull of black holes would have on time, and Einstein’s time relativity and its relationship to distance due to all being dependent on perspective – were treated lightly, with all the huge implications that they carry, but with no compensatory seriousness or emotional impact. The latter only focused on a semi-developed father-daughter relationship and a sentimentally predictable, yet agreeable idea of love transcending all possible dimensions, including space and time, an idea that I am enamored with. So, ironically, the movie’s lack of believability didn’t come from the characters’ often irrational decisions, which can be immediately justified with the excuse of human’s irrationality and hastiness when facing decision-taking scenarios in absurdly extreme circumstances of life, death, and now time! No. It came with the whole emotional “build-up”, which corresponds to the first chapter of it all, and the ridiculous way in which Cooper discovers the actual geographic coordinates of a NASA Space Station with a binary code, where everybody accepts him with wide open arms but without a clue of how he got there, and assign him a mission to save the planet with no hesitation, making his random arrival to a NASA Space Station located conveniently close to his home a very fortunate coincidence. After he accepts the mission with his scarcely depicted-on-screen family as the main inspiration to challenge the boundaries of space and time, a scene shows Cooper driving away from his isolated home with dramatic music until the next shot already propels us to space before we can sneeze. Therefore, the issue is clearly the non-corresponding relationship between Nolan’s abilities to direct and the Nolan’s abilities to write, which was a concern that was born inside my head since Inception. The next step should be Nolan directing something not written by him.

So it was this precipitated presentation the one that had me dubious in my objective evaluation, because, overall, these themes fascinate me to no end, and this was easier to appreciate thanks to a space environment that was strikingly palpable, so I am having a favorable subjective bias to this movie which I am most probably overrating. I think it was thanks to Hans Zimmer orchestral brilliance and terrifying organ musical usage. It even seems that Zimmer understood more the huge size of the film’s themes than Nolan himself. And shockingly, this is not the case. Zimmer did not know what the movie was about; Nolan only gave him bits of script information to work with, because he didn’t want to subconsciously influence Zimmer into thinking that it was a “sci-fi” movie. So, in essence, the soundtrack reflects themes of loss, trust, hope and death, even emotional connections to loved ones, and maybe the notion of love transcending all dimensions. How great it is that it perfectly fitted into epic space imagery, reflecting its versatility. The prospect of watching a spinning dock in space while the crew tries to attach to it is boring; Zimmer made it a spectacular sequence. Praise the man and his damn spinning dock.

With a climax that is completely fascinating and an unfortunate double ending – the second ending being very unnecessary – Interstellar had all the material required to become, like many Nolan’s film could have been, the best Blockbuster movie of the past 20-25 years, an honor that Inception was closer to achieve. Although the frustration I feel because of the dramatic execution and underdeveloped emotional bond betraying the bigger scope of interstellar things cannot disappear, the movie gives signs of Nolan remaining as a committed director that has a lot of ideas in his mind and a very big enthusiasm that all directors should have in their films, because a natural consequence of that is credibility.


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