As Christopher Nolan has commanded bigger budgets and larger films, his ambitions haven’t just gotten bigger, they’ve multiplied. That’s on full display in Interstellar, which aims to be a 2001–like meditation on humanity (looking at the potential end of our species rather than its beginning), a rollicking summer blockbuster with thrilling 3-D friendly setpieces like The Dark Knight Rises, a heartbreaking generational family drama, and to address all of this with some degree of scientific rigor; Kip Thorne, co-author of Gravitation (one of the best of all scientific textbooks why yes am I a nerd thanks for asking) served as consultant here.
Is it successful at all of this? Hells no. It veers between maudlin and silly and thrilling and disturbing and mysterious and of course, there’s lots of that good ol’ Nolan exposition. (It also pulls its punches at the end, veering away from the much more thematically appropriate original ending.) Should you skip it? Even louder hells no. The sheer Lost-like ambition thrills in itself. Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema create big images to match the big themes and Hans Zimmer does the same with an unusual, melody-heavy, organ-based score. The acting stays brilliant all through the cast with Matthew McConaughey leading the way; everyone gets on board (pun!) and goes through the wormhole of Nolan’s imagination and ambition (pun/metaphor!) here, comes out the other side and
APPROPRIATE BUT SPOILERY PUN REDACTED. And Nolan’s skill with the basics of filmmaking hasn’t left him–for all the effects on display, the most powerful one is Jessica Chastain’s first moment onscreen.
Really, the film this reminds me the most of is Spartacus, another film with a huge score, big chunks of story that seem to come from different movies, beautiful, epic cinematography, and (manly, I assure you) teary moments.
Interstellar streams free for Amazon Prime subscribers.