Christopher Nolan is known for films as visually striking as they are over bloated and too complicated for their own good. ‘Interstellar’ is no exception to the rule with its convoluted and manipulative narrative dealing with a team of astronauts sent in space through a wormhole in an attempt to find a better planet that will sustain humanity. In the end, the two-hour-forty-five-minute project adds up to little more than a big budget snore fest.
The film is no doubt stunningly photographed and the scenes in outer space, with their absence of sound (there is no air to carry it in real space) and intricate camera angles, will offer an exciting ride to any thrill seeker. The director prides himself for not having relied on CGI with the actors performing in front of green screens, instead opting for rear screen projection techniques. In that respect, Nolan delivers something at least beautiful to look at. The problem lies in what is left between those technical tours de force. The dialogues and conflicts use such a highly technical jargon that they take away from the suspense and turn what could have been a thrilling disaster/science fiction movie into an indigestible bore (except perhaps for the few astronomers or aerospace engineers in the audience). Less would definitely have been much more in this instance.
The excessive use of parallel editing, where the director keeps inter cutting between two simultaneous scenes and overstretching them to the point where any sense of time is lost along the way, considerably affects the pacing and just makes things even more confusing. In a key scene taking place on an ice planet, Cooper, aka Matthew McConaughey, separates from his group flanked by a surprise ‘guest star’. We don’t really understand where they are going, we just see a spacecraft flying over their heads unclear of who’s flying it. We witness explosions without really understanding what blew up and why. In short, the editing fails to convey any sense of time and space.
When it comes to the narrative, questions remain unanswered adding to the overall frustration. One wonders how the hero, a farmer, ends up being sent in space to save humanity from one scene to the other (the way he finds the NASA base in the first place remains an enigma). It is just so unbelievable and the equivalent to Swiss cheese when it comes to plot holes. In the end, the fairy-tale-type moral that dominates the story, ‘love transcends science’, is so naive and cheap that it feels like the director is addressing an audience of 10-year-olds.
The actors try, at least their best, to inject some life in this soporific nonsense. While it is a real treat to watch Jessica Chastain deliver another one of her wonderful performances, Michael Caine’s talent is wasted in the ‘cliche-ridden’ part of the aging scientist. Hans Zimmer’s overbearing soundtrack covers some of the dialogues and is just plain annoying… C-