Censor Rating: PG-13 (USA), U/A (India)
My Score: 3/5
Epic directors have a knack of making epic movies. There is no doubt about it. Let it be Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson or James Cameron. They have the vision to try a huge flick with a nice big budget and a phenomenal ground breaking story line. Some of those movies take the highest mark at the Oscars, some stay in my personal DVD collection as movies that could have made it but fell short. Now, I will be adding Chris Nolan to that list of directors who try epic and challenging movies - because now he has the reputation of ducking out a hit when required.
Having said that, when I left the movie hall, I had mixed feelings of what I had witness for 169 minutes. I was speechless to describe what I truly felt. It was not the surreal experience as the Dark Knight series nor was it an enhancing experience as the Inception. It was something that felt right but incomplete at the same time. It was comprehensive yet ridden with potholes. Finally, I knew what I felt as I dwelled on that strand of thought for a day - falling short of a cracker of a movie!
Interstellar has Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, an ex-NASA pilot, who is living with his kids and father in law and working as a corn farmer in a world ridden with life threatening issues. His daughter, Murph, stumbles upon a “Ghost” in her room which is caused due to shifts in gravity giving him clues that takes him to a secret NASA facility. There he comes to know about a mission to go through a wormhole to another galaxy to find a planet where to sustain the life thereby bringing the most apt dialogue in the movie into context - “Mankind was born on Earth but it was never meant to die there”. Cooper along with Dr Brand (played by Anne Hathaway) and a couple of other scientist undertake the exploration in an attempt to find a habitable planet. The movie essentially kicks off a race against time as Cooper tries to find a world before his existing world collapses.
Story & Direction: Honestly speaking, I liked the concept and the story line. I was pretty much hooked on. However, surprisingly, the Nolan brothers lost the plot in the pacing of the movie. The movie was draggy and was spending time explaining things which werent really required to be explained but missing out on the parts which needed a proper explanation! Having said that I did catch the vibe and vein of the movie and was really amazed by the bold approach taken by the writers. The content was a brave one but extremely complicated (Inception was a cake walk compared to this movie). Even if we assume for a sec that the science behind it is extremely true and believable, the writing could have easily been compressed and still would have made the movie watchable.
Never doubted the directional skills of Nolan and again he exemplifies that he is the wizard of Direction of his generation. His use of the canvas which is the screen is really nice and the space/other planet scenes are mind blowing. Whatever he screwed up in his writing, he overcame it in his direction and timely camera movement. He has the natural vision and talent to pull off complicated material and he just proves that with Interstellar.
Visuals & Effects: Considering that this was a sci-fi genre movie, the effects were top notch and were perfect in terms of keeping with the tone of the movie. The production designer has done his homework really well and the amazing visuals of Iceland fill up the screen the movement the team lands on that “planet”.
Cast: When I saw the cast of the movie, I was really excited and concerned of how Nolan was going to make them fit. After the movie, I can safely say that the casting was spot on. The stand out for me in this movie were of-course Matthew McConaughey who is carrying a good acting form recently along with Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway. However, a special mention of Mackenzie Foy who does a super job as the young Murph.
Another few notable mentions are of Matt Damon in his surprising cameo, Michael Caine in his ever so present portrayal of Dr Brand and Casey Affleck who I left was a bit wasted but still held his own as Tom (Cooper’s son).
Bottomline: Interstellar could have been an epic movie and the best one Nolan ever made. However, it ends up being one of those movie which would end up on my “fell short” DVD collection. Nolan’s attempt at mixing emotions and science is appreciable but just does not get it over the line for me. Me, being a Nolan fan, this is a big admission. However, what the script screws up in potholes covers up in brilliant direction and casting. A visually stunning piece which could have been much more than just a one time watch!!