There are few dates on the cinematic calendar that stir up the public’s interest quite like a new Christopher Nolan flick. Having been occupied in Gotham City for the past few years, sandwiched in-between his superhero ventures, Nolan released provocative, challenging thrillers, The Prestige and Inception. He’s now back with an equally convoluted and cerebral blockbuster, Interstellar.
Set in the not too distant future, human beings are facing extinction, and so NASA – still operating, but in secret so as not to offend the public who would question whether it’s worthy spending of the little money they have – want to find another planet to settle on, and to save mankind. So when Professor Brand (Michael Caine) discovers a wormhole in the solar system to a distant galaxy, he pleads with skilled pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to leave his kids and spearhead this ambitious, yet integral mission. So setting off with just a small team consisting of Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley) and Romilly (David Gyasi), they seek to find a new home for their families back on Earth.
The opening hour of this grandiose production is exceptional cinema. While the premise is being built up it has all the makings of one of the most important, remarkable science fiction flicks ever created – as the story, which we can resonate with given the fear of global warming, and then the immensity and severe implications of this mission, appear to be building up into something so special. However the further we progress into the tale, the more convoluted and otherworldly it becomes, because Nolan frustratingly loses sight of the raw, human elements of the piece, which is what made for such a compelling opening act. Though of course surreal and fantastical – Nolan had been playing so heavily on realism: focusing predominantly on McConaughey leaving his children behind, which made for emotionally gripping sequences; but then other dimensions, and time zones, and things to do with gravity that make no sense to any normal person take precedence, and the filmmakers loses his audience as a result.
It’s still a project worth commending though, as not only is McConaughey on fine form – turning in a miraculously intimate display considering the blockbuster setup – but the visual experience is totally unforgettable too. However, much like Inception, the film becomes so intricate and labyrinthine that you become overwhelmed by the jargon and narrative, and stop following the story to watch on in more simplistic terms: switching off when it becomes nonsensical to merely marvel at the imagery. It seems that perhaps, in this instance, Interstellar may just be a little too over-ambitious for this gifted filmmaker.