mattmav45’s review published on Letterboxd :
Theatrical as fuck.
No matter what you may believe about Nolan there is very little doubt of the man's power in the cinema world. Every Nolan release feels like a bigger cinematic event than before. I am not a Nolan hater by any means, and have liked some of his films quite a bit in the past. The problem I have always had with Nolan concerns the somewhat mechanical and calculated devices Nolan is prone to use in his films. Unfortunately for me as a viewer, such is very much the case here.
It makes sense to begin with the run time here, and I'll be frank and just state that the three hour run time here is a bit ridiculous. As I look back on my viewing last night it is in fact hard to remember just how it achieved that run time in the first place. What that tells me is there is a good amount of bloat to the script that could have been cut off. The initial scenes at the farm are a good example of this. No doubt those were meant to set-up and lay the foundation for the future, but I found it failed to really develop any of the characters and instead just treaded water for the first part of the film.
The film as a whole is very disjointed and almost acts as three different scenes in a play. Each third of the film stands out and differs quite a bit from one another. While that may not be a problem in and of itself, a problem enters the picture as a result of the scenes not feeling connected to each other in any real manner. Nolan has never been a very fluid or organic film-maker, but this would have come in handy here. The transitions here were nothing less than jarring, plain and simple.
There is a concerted attempt at providing an emotional undercurrent that drives the film and story, and unfortunately this is where the film completely loses me. I'll be clear here and say the tears flow freely and throughout the film. McConaughey in particular could fill up half of the damn Amazon River wl with his tear-flowing prowess. The problem with all this emotion is that not only does it detract from the power of space exploration, but is quite frankly a laughable device tailored to providing emotion. I can understand how it worked for some, but for me it merely served to under-cut the power that is already inherent in space exploration, particularly when such exploration is aimed at saving the human race.
I'll end with a short spiel concerning the depth that this film provides. I couldn't help but feel that too much time in the film is spent trying to tell you how deep everything is instead of letting that depth come naturally. This is a film about deep space exploration aimed at saving the human race. All this avant garde dialogue served once again to under-cut the innate power of space exploration.
I didn't want to put any thoughts down after my viewing yesterday as these are themes best returned to after a night of sleep and rest. Unfortunately, a night of sleep merely confirmed that the depth here is fleeting in nature at best. That third act seemed cool after the initial viewing, but upon reflection it is not the kind of story-telling that warrants comparisons to 2001 and so on.
It's big, it's ballsy, and it's ambitious, but in the end it never understands where the true source of its power should ultimately reside.