Friday, November 7, 2014

I Saw Interstellar, I am a Nolan Fan, It Is Not Perfect (and that's okay)

Of course, if you've been around these parts for a little while, you'll know that I've been a pretty huge Christopher Nolan fan since 2010. It has reached some pretty fanatical heights (why yes I do own two copies of Memento, a copy of the Inception shooting script and bought a special collectors edition of The Dark Knight Rises that came with little figurines), I may call him God from time to time and I do get exceptionally excited whenever I hear his name mentioned. So of course, once I heard he was doing a film with my favourite person ever Jessica Chastain, along with my other favourites Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, I was very excited. Levels of excitement included being a countdown for the film from April 6th, using procrastination time to watch the trailers over and over again and possibly just about amputating my boyfriend's hand whenever the trailer came on before the movies we saw at the cinemas.

You'd be expecting me to hightail into this movie with the "Nolan is God, he can do know wrong, #Nolanfangirl" attitude.

Thing is, Interstellar is not perfect. And that's okay.

I have a feeling there'll be a lot of talk about Interstellar over the next few days, so I'll keep this a little brief. I'd have to give this another watch to fully absorb it, particularly in the Xtremescreen format instead of just the normal cinema viewing (damn you, exams). But yes, everything you've heard about the technological achievements of this film are true - this film is probably one of the greatest visual experiences I have ever had. Nolan's new teaming with cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (the guy behind the incredible cinematography of Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Her) has produced some pretty incredible results, giving this film this weird blend of independent sensibilities - think Memento-era Nolan, with the polished pride of something like Inception. The visual effects work on the space scenes, along with the real locations used to represent the other planets are all absolutely perfect.

In terms of being compared to Nolan's other work - and of course, I'll have to give it another watch considering I've seen each of his films at least three times, with The Dark Knight being viewed over 25 times - I wouldn't say that this is one of his best. It lacks the completed narrative of Memento (and to be honest, I would take a lot for that film to be topped for me), the general magic of The Dark Knight and the cleanness of Inception. I'd currently place it somewhere in between The Prestige and The Dark Knight Rises if I were ranking his films, but since it is a little too early to tell, here's what I will say: Interstellar is in no way like any of his other films. Yet, in saying that, it isn't like he is departing from the style of anything he's previously done - it just doesn't neatly fit with the rest of his trajectory. Or any cinematic trajectory for that matter. The thing that stands out most about Interstellar is that it shows incomparable ambition that is precisely the reason why I love film so much.

Let's just take a second to appreciate how damn ambitious Interstellar is and for that reason alone it should be counted as one of the greats. Every single frame is dripping with ambition. Nolan has brought out everything in full force, and where we think that he'll step back in fear of going too far, he chooses to go further. He goes much further with this film than what is generally 'required' by a film, and maybe that won't be to everyone's taste but I was utterly in awe of what he was doing. The emotional strain of this film is absolutely beautiful, mostly due to the wonderful performances by Matthew McConaughey along with Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain playing Murph at different ages. Apparently the scientific stuff was pretty interesting, but even though I didn't really understand some of it, it was still broken down in such a way that it was easy to swallow.

Again, the film isn't perfect - it is hard to pinpoint reasons why, but it is so very close to being a masterpiece. The really fanatical Nolan fanboys will tell you this movie is resoundingly perfect, and they could be right. The really fanatical Nolan haters will tell you that it is overlong and silly, and they could be right too. Even though I've been hyped up for this film for months, I am hesitant to say whether it lived up to my expectations, but I don't think they ever extended beyond me being generally excited to see my favourite actress in a film by my favourite director. It is going to generate some interesting discussion by being a bit divisive - and I think that's something we're lacking a little these days with films either being "good enough", "MASTERPIECE (that we'll inevitably forget about anyway)" or "wow that sucked". Above all, I'm still floored by the ambition and courage of this movie, but it isn't perfect by any means. And you know what? I'm not even disappointed that it wasn't perfect. I'm not even disappointed that it doesn't rank high among Nolan's best. I'm not even disappointed after months of waiting, it didn't completely change my world in a way that some of Nolan's films have. I'm grateful that it reminded me of love these stupid little things called film and want to make a career out of them - Interstellar is direct proof of how much ambition can be put into them.

If you really need proof of just how much I was affected by this film, I cried quite profusely four separate times during the film, characteristically cried at the sight of Christopher Nolan's name, then cried for a full fifteen minutes after the film. I'd like to say that I've grown out of Nolan's films emotionally wrecking me, but I haven't.


  1. Completely agree when you say this film should be commended for its ambition - the scope of the thing is simply staggering! I saw it yesterday and it blew my mind. That being said, it is certainly not his best. I think Inception and the Dark Knight edge it, but all in all, Interstellar was an awesome movie.

    You can check out my full review here:

    1. Totally agree with your review! The scope of the ambition of this film is definitely amazing and should be commended above anything else.

  2. I thought this review was pretty spot on! I also thought this film was so unlike any other film Nolan has ever done, but that's not necessarily a bad thing really. I was so unprepared for how emotional the story was at times, completely overwhelmed, and, after seeing it twice already; I still have a hard time deciding whether I love it or not :-/

  3. I can certainly understand how excited you were. I got so excited about Interstellar I went out and started an equally ambitious blogathon to coincide with its release. ( Basically the idea is that you get to put together your own mission into Interstellar space. It's certainly a challenge, but it is still fun and loaded with creative potential.

    As for the movie itself, I thought it was a great experience. I love Jessica Chastain as an actress. I've maybe seen her in four films now (Take Shelter, The Help, Zero Dark Thirty, and Interstellar) and in all of them she does an amazing job. I swear that actress was born to play strong leading roles. I also liked Anne Hathaway as Brand and while this wasn't the first time McConaughey starred in a great science fiction movie but it was a nice change to see him playing an astronaut this time round. I could definitely see a bit of influence from 2001 and Contact as well, but they also managed to go in some interesting directions with those ideas.

  4. Excellent review. It is truly a visual experience despite its imperfections. Love this blog by the way. I'll be coming around more often. - Kevin

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  6. Glad you liked the movie. I just saw it a second time recently, and I LOVE it! I wouldn't call it perfect either, but it's such a powerful and emotional experience. Really hope Nolan can somehow get a Best Director nomination for this.

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