An exhilarating synthesis of motion and melody, Interstellar falls just shy of greatness. Save for some far-fetched sequences, thinly developed characters and unnecessary sentimentality, Interstellar still manages to come through as an artful wonder. Powered by a phenomenal score, courtesy of musical mastermind Hans Zimmer, and the transcendent cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema, the entertainment meets the typical Nolan standard. The feature boasts the innovation of Inception, the smooth confidence and grace of The Dark Knight series and the fascination of Memento. The film, however, still leaves much to be desired, its intellectual stamina drawn more from fantasy notions than science, its improbability and fanciful concepts distracting from its true potential and insight. It's sheer scale and ambition is to be admired, aesthetically the film reaches new heights and whilst some will view the Interstellar odyssey as one absurdly constructed, others will revel in its compelling nature.
Interstellar tells of an unspecified future where the earth has deteriorated and innovation is at a standstill. NASA physicist, Professor Brand (Michael Caine), recruits a team, including his own daughter, Amelia (Anne Hathaway), and former pilot, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), in a mission to salvage the human race by locating a new inhabitable planet via a worm hole. It is Cooper who must determine whether to remain on earth with his family, including his young daughter Cooper (Mackenzie Foy), or to risk his life in hopes of keeping their future alive.
Constantly does Interstellar undermine itself, adding cheap and wholly unnecessary flourishes of melodrama and sentimentality in a misguided bid to win over the audience. The feature has been lauded by viewers as a fresh, more accessible rendition of 2001:A Space Odyssey. Interstellar distinguishes itself by one fatal difference however: much unlike the confident stride of Stanley Kubrick, director Christopher Nolan fails to appreciate the audience's intellectual capacity. In an attempt perhaps to make Interstellar more widely appealing, Nolan over-explains and alludes to hackneyed notions of "love" and "hope", a road so often and so mistakenly tread by epics. Moments of the feature are unbearably trite, mawkish even, parts of the film playing out in sensationalised ways, tears in the abundance and heartbreak at every turn. The first act of the film is arguably its strongest, the "future" earth now nothing but a grand ghost, an intriguing premise to be explored and providing fervent insight into the two most interesting characters, Cooper and his daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy). However it is when the team embarks on its intergalactic journey that the real appeal of the feature is revealed as the heights of Zimmer's score kicks in and the guaranteed excitement ensues. The voyage is a widely vivid one, impressive on all accounts, throughly grand and illustrious and beautifully moving at many a moment.
Performance-wise the actors of Interstellar are tightly bound, the characters superficially constructed on a script that failed too often. But certain performers managed to pull through magnificently, Matthew McConaughey providing a devout representation in his role of the man conflicted by his familial duties and a burning desire for discovery. His performance is easily the most accomplished of Interstellar, and in some ways, even superior to that of his widely revered role in Dallas Buyers Club. In the respective child and adult roles of Cooper's daughter, Murph, Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain sustained admirably regardless of the notable restrictions placed on them by poor writing. It was Anna Hathaway whom proved to be one of Interstellar's greatest disappointments, pulling the same melodrama from her role in Les Miserables, her character proving to be more than irritating and wholly difficult to relate or sympathise with.
The climatic sequences of Interstellar are spectacular visions impeccably structured and edited. In particular sections of the film the situations of Cooper in his alternate universe and Murph's reality on earth are shown interchangeably and in spectacular fashion. The presentation of the feature exceeds expectations, the exceptional sound-mixing and graphics providing a memorable, alluring viewing experience for the audience. Penultimately, the overuse of tired characterisations and abundance of cumbersome plot holes chip fatally away at its originality. But a fine leading performance together with extraordinary visuals, a monster of a soundtrack and imagination powering much of the film, Interstellar emerges regardless as a triumphant showpiece of ambitious and sincere filmmaking.