By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: #Interstellar is one of the most ambitious movies ever made, but, that ending… oh that ending; it’s one for the history books.
The Gist: How close are we as a human race to solving the secrets to the universe’s most perplexing questions? Can wormholes, black holes really transport us to other galaxies? In Christopher Nolan’s new science fiction film Interstellar, those questions are more than answered, they’re put the test. The Earth is reaching its last days of life and only one man, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), has the gumption, skills and know-how to pilot a secret spaceship, invented by a covert NASA team, to find a new planet and save human civilization. But his moral conundrum is whether to go on a one-way uncertain mission to save the human race or stay put and be a protector to his cherished family?
What Works: As a film, the IMAX version of Interstellar is a sweeping breadth of unmitigated grandiosity. From the thunderous sounds and celestial score by Hans Zimmer to the behemoth 70mm scenes, it seems as if Nolan wanted to surpass Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: Space Odyssey, considered by a consensus of the most respected critics, to be the single, most eminent achievement of auteur science fiction cinema ever created. In my opinion, when compared to the modern sci-fi movies, Interstellar is better than Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity in scope, it rivals Ridley Scott’s Prometheus in ambition and it literally pushes the boundaries of our imagination. The almost 3 hour duration was never an issue with me since the premise alone is utterly yawn-proof.
What Doesn’t Work: In doing a close exegesis of the plot, I can tell you that Interstellar was on its way to being the greatest science fiction film ever made (excluding Alejandro Jodorowski’s conceptualized ‘Dune‘). The first hour’s exposition sets up nicely everything you need to know about the inevitable demise of the Earth, the urgent and rattled emotions of our characters and a one-course collision towards an intense, imaginative and unrestrained phantasmagorical denouement. However, along with Gone Girl, the film’s final 45 minutes will become one of the most talked about movie climax’s of 2014, not necessarily for it’s power and clarity, but for the opposite – its intricacy and unrestrained abstruseness. Without revealing much, I feel there are three crucial factors that led to this recherché:
a) Towards the end, the dialogue took a spin from standard to scientifically specialized, and thus, the story becomes very complex and hard to follow. There are things I still don’t quite understand and I’m not sure a second viewing will help.
b) A particular cameo appearance by a very familiar face, who seemed random and out of place, provoked a titter in me. It took a while for me to accept the character in that role and context. The ensuing situations, with the individual at play, reaches operatic levels of theatrics only expected from the best Spanish-language telenovelas.
c) And that finale, oh that finale. The resolution was soooo absurdly fantastical, that I’m still deciphering whether it was incoherent babbling or just straight up visionary. I’ll tell you this, my gut reaction was to laugh uproariously. In film, imagination without precepts is anarchical. You just can’t let it run wild without a set of rules grounded in some sort of verisimilitude. It’s so far out there that it didn’t fit within the boundaries of what the film’s first 2 hours established. Interstellar is really a story of two tales, or for the purpose of this review, a story of two seemingly different movies. Brothers Jonathan and Christopher Nolan devised such lofty concepts of space and time that it might have backfired. Documentarian Errol Morris once said of absurdity, “Absurdity is confrontation with meaninglessness.” I leave the rest up to your interpretation.
Pay or Nay? Pay. Whether I have an ambivalence towards its ending or not, you have to see this movie simply for its visual achievement, unbridled creative power and stupefying ending. It’s length is not a challenge, it moves quickly and crescendos with a forceful intensity. Will you be satisfied with what it ultimately delivers? Watch, listen, think and digest because what you’re about to experience comes only once in a generation.
Rated: PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.
Release Date: November 7, 2014
Screenplay: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Director(s): Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Wes Bentley, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, David Oyelowo
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Film Genre: Science Fiction