Interstellar is the Nolan version of a doom and gloom story.
The movie tackles a topical subject that looms over mankind in real life – the death knell of earth’s ecology. Here, in 2067, that finally happens – crops are dying and a second dustbowl threatens mankind’s survival. Worse, fake news has become mainstream and younger generations are taught fake history.
Professor John Brand (Micheal Caine) has developed two plans, which include finding and colonizing a habitable planet. Former NASA pilot Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) takes the mission, while the other plan is still being solved.
The off-kilter cinematography, effective sound design and beautiful set pieces provide great visuals. It is reminiscent of 2001: Space Odyssey but creates a pervading sense of underlying dread. It’s attention to the mechanics of space travel and dwarfed shots of the spaceship solidifies this experience, while making you invested in the journey.
Everything else, however, is clunky and ill-conceived.
Interstellar stretches its own logic of science to accommodate its mawkish sentiments about human emotions. It uses a father-daughter story to solve the puzzle at the center of its story with heavy-handed results.
This can be summarized in one scene where scientist and astronaut Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) explains how love transcends space and time so she must use her emotions to make a logical decision.
The supporting cast is given thankless roles that are merely there for exposition and to reiterate space jargon. The actors at least, turn in moving performances to compensate for this.
Things go further south when Nolan does a Shyamalan plot twist.
Interstellar demonstrated some scientifically plausible ideas thanks to Kip Thorne in the 2nd act. But it also expects viewers to believe that love conquers all – including spacetime – in what is obviously a nonsensical 3rd act.
Nolan tries to show the endurance of man in a long-drawn-out journey with New Age mumbo jumbo.
In fairness, this doesn’t take away from the entertainment value of the film as long as you ignore the science. Interstellar is a well-acted story of determination and a stunning fictional foray into space exploration.
Interstellar is not as smart as it thinks, but it's stunning imagery, effective sound design, and moving performances make it a great cinematic experience.