Christopher Nolan is perhaps the most popular Director we have right now. Sure we have Spielberg, Scorsese, Peter Jackson, Tarantino, Wes Anderson, David O’Russell, etc,etc; but, if you’re going to go see a Blockbuster, Nolan is probably the most popular choice. And this is hardly surprising, as he’s great.
I’m not sure whether I’ve seen all his films, and I can’t be bothered to check, but all of those which I have seen I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception, and of course the Dark Knight trilogy are all fantastic in their own right. In recent interviews, actors from Interstellar said they think this is because Nolan doesn’t dumb down, and they have a point.
Films like Interstellar and Inception use interesting concepts, they are clever, and they ask us to take a leap of faith. Nolan does not care to explain how technology like hibernation capsules or dream sharing equipment works. For some this is an issue: but I don’t mind; because one, any explanation would probably fall flat, and two, you don’t want the science to detract from the story.
In contrast to this, Nolan tries to limit his use of CGI and green-screen and do as much “real” filming as possible, and I think this sets him apart. This means that there are parts of Interstellar which reminded me of the first Star Wars film (A New Hope, not Phantom Menace). For those of you who are worried by this don’t be, it looks fantastic, and when CGI is used it has greater impact. You might not agree with me, but just think about Lord of the Rings: my favourite is The Fellowship of the Ring, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence it uses the least amount of green-screen.
Interstellar then is, largely, what you would expect from a Christopher Nolan film: intelligent, exciting, and with a human element portrayed by some solid acting. I didn’t think Matthew McConaughey was by any means flawless, but he was pretty good. He brought an element of humanity to the role, but occasionally there were times when you were reminded of his reputation pre-Dallas Buyers Club. At times I felt his trademark drawl lacked the subtle tweaks of emotion which you might expect in certain situations. Anne Hathaway is similar, very good, but not brilliant; and Michael Caine, is Michael Caine (which is meant as a compliment).
But then we get to the tricky part, which is difficult without giving anything away: all I will say is, I didn’t like the ending. It was one step too far, like the new Indiana Jones; I have no issue with an Ark that melts the faces of Nazis, but aliens?! Don’t be ridiculous. Interstellar isn’t on that scale, but you know what I’m saying.
The ending was a bit out of touch with the rest of the film. It didn’t put me off, I still really enjoyed it; but I probably won’t bother watching it again. I imagine that most people’s overall impression will hinder a lot on this: if you like the ending, you’ll love the film; if you were like me, it will be thoroughly enjoyable but fall slightly flat; and if you hate it, it will probably ruin the whole film.
Overall then, I think Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s worst offering to date. Sounds harsh, but the reality is the man’s competition is fierce, because he’s competing with himself. Most people won’t agree with me on this, because a lot of people will prefer an inter-galactic Blockbuster to the low-key Insomnia, or the uncomfortable Memento; but it’s hard to know who to recommend it to. With previous offerings, this would just be based upon subject matter, not the film’s overall quality. With Interstellar, this is much more difficult. It’s epic, ambitious, and entertaining: for which Nolan should be applauded. But ultimately, it will rest upon how big a leap of faith you’re willing to take.