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INTERSTELLAR We Are Made Of Star Stuff

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Interstellar

Directed by Christopher Nolan Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine

In the near future, the earth is dying, slowly deprived of its ability to support food crops. The last hope for humanity comes when a worm-hole is discovered near Saturn, allowing travel to another galaxy. Ex-NASA pilot, now reluctant farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) finds himself part of this desperate mission, and must leave his family, to travel through the worm-hole in search of a habitable planet on which to re-establish mankind.

At its heart, Interstellar is a big old fashioned space epic. The kind you might see from the ’60s and ’70s, revelling at the exploration of man, as well as the special effects that bring such a spectacle to the screen. It relies on jaw-dropping visuals combined with the thunderously emotive score of Hollywood stalwart Hans Zimmer to drag the audience through the almost three hours of run time, and still be able to feel a sense of wonder at its conclusion.It is brave and brash and bold, throwing tons of science fiction tropes at the screen. 2001 is the obvious touchstone here, but also Contact, Solaris, Silent Running, The Right Stuff – anything with a shred of hard sci-fi at its source that touches on space exploration.

Yet for all its bravado it is flawed. There is too much there. With this vast, sprawling epic of mankind’s exploration, Nolan creates a bloated piece. It is paced with a deliberate solemnity that emphasises its import but also adds to the drag. When it wants to, Interstellar is more than capable of delivering on its action beats, more than capable of delivering on its sense of wonder, but falls down on delivering its emotional heart. This is catastrophic, as the Jonathan and Christopher Nolan script places this emotional content quite literally at the living core of this movie. Often an Achilles heel in Nolan films, Interstellar emphasises this weakness in its clumsy dialogue, constant reiteration of a Dylan Thomas poem, and its deus ex machina ending. The result becomes mawkish and cheesy, collapsing in upon itself like a singularity.

So what are we left with? A sci-fi tent pole movie without the constant thrills and spills to make it a blockbuster, nor the emotional depth to push it beyond. Yet with its technical proficiency, soaring score, breathtaking visuals, and inspiring sense of wonder Interstellar is a fascinating movie to watch. It may be uneven, but there are moments during the long run time that are capable of transfixing the audience in their seats, completely lost within the spectacle. Interstellar was never the masterpiece it clearly aimed to be, but rather a flawed but still great movie.

Hopefully over time it will least garner some appreciation, even if only for its failed attempt to reach for those stars.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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