Christopher Nolan risks his career to create an emotionally impacting science-fiction epic. While Interstellar is grand in scale, Nolan throws every idea and belief he has into it, creating a gorgeous, but unbalanced film.
Interstellar follows astronauts Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Amelia (Anne Hathaway), as they search for a habitable planet in order to save the human race from a massive blight. That's one story that Nolan chooses to focus on. His second is the relationship between Cooper and his hardheaded daughter Murphy (played in her adolescence by Mackenzie Foy, and in her adulthood by Jessica Chastain).
There's no denying that Nolan has masterfully crafted his art of epic storytelling and brilliant visuals. Interstellar is by far the most visually stunning film to come out of cinema in the past few decades. Nolan utilizes his influence of 2001: Space Odyssey to create a mesmerizing opera, while Hans Zimmer's haunting score makes each scene feel like a carefully choreographed ballet performance. Unfortunately, the film does fall apart near the third act, with almost no hope for redeeming itself.
The film's fault mostly lies within the second and third acts when Nolan's space story takes second seat to a random story about Murphy on Earth. Nolan uses this second story to develop Murphy and send a message to his audience about love transcending time and space. The story is poorly edited and confusing. Too many random events occur that lead Murphy on a quest to find the final puzzle piece of an equation that would save humanity. The last connection that Murphy and Cooper find in their relationship is embarrassingly bombastic and sappy. Along the way, Murphy and her brother (Casey Affleck), who is barely characterized, have a small subplot towards the pinnacle of the third act that is unnecessary and slows down the narrative.
Interstellar creates tension and intrigue in its ambiguous, non-physical threat most of the way through the film. Eventually, Nolan makes a decision and takes the low road, adding two villains that drive the story nowhere. The villains are introduced to deliver thought provoking philosophy on life and death, but all too late. These foolishly conceived subplots torture the audience for an extra thirty minutes. The concepts are interesting in terms of directing, visuals and thought, but fail story-wise.
Nolan tries emotionally investing himself in two projects. He succeeds tremendously in one and fails terrifically in the other. While the subplots and foolish directing decisions create headaches for a good majority of the film, the visuals, music and epic scope might never be seen in film for decades to come.
Good Qualities: The grand scale and depth, the philosophy, the music, some emotional impact and idea behind the film.
Bad Qualities: The story featuring Murphy on Earth, the "out-of-left-field" villains.
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