Interstellar ★★★★½

''Rage, rage against the dying of the light.''

It is no secret that I have long been a super-fan of Christopher Nolan's work, and ever since that cinema excursion 14 years ago to see his breakout hit Memento, I have been suitably impressed with every single offering he has blasted into the ether and have dutifully raced to cinema to consume them all. I recall being blown away by Inception like most of the world were, but was shocked to find so much hatred for the film and Nolan online at the time (and this obviously went to even greater levels with TDKR) and still to this day, do not understand where the rage comes from (all I hear is 'exposition overload' from the haters, yet all I hear in the film is conversation and communication, and I like listening to people talk about shit - so no problem for me!). Suffice it to say, I knew this film would create a similar internet shit-storm, seeming that many were ready to hate the film before they had even seen it, which strangely puts those who are fans in the precarious position of having to be on the defence against scathing attacks from furious troll-like ones - Let us just keep in mind that this is a fucking MOVIE and what might be one person's 'bore', is another person's 'awe'.

So what is this film to me?

Well, after one viewing in IMAX, I was left suitably awestruck with some minor quibbles, that even in post-film conversation I am starting to overcome, and feel that there is sooooo much to process that a second viewing may even send my admiration for it to a higher plane. Is it my favourite Nolan film? No, but it is his most ambitious and profoundly 'human' cinematic experience yet, and I love that he has really stretched himself and aimed for the stars so to speak. It is as visually astounding as I expected, but in the same way that Inception was - a lived in and grounded reality with seamless CGI, rather than the spectacle visual approach that other filmmakers are guilty of (James Cameron for example). Zimmer's score is one of the films greatest strengths, and I did not find it overwhelming like others have mentioned, but it is certainly guilty of drowning out some of the dialogue (a serious sound mixing issue is apparent). All performances are wonderful, with Matthew McConaughey as the film's anchor, once again proving that his current streak is not a fluke. I was honestly surprised by Matt Damon's appearance in the film, and his delicious little antagonist role was welcome at that point in the film.

Many complaints have been directed at the writing (as predicted), and I won't pretend that the film is perfectly crafted in every aspect of its narrative, but apart from some seemingly convenient and contrived moments (many of which I am hoping to resolve on a second viewing including the convenient discovery of NASA, the ice planet scuffle between Mann and Coop that seemed to end quite conveniently, and just how Coop was discovered so easily after being ejected from the black hole), the overuse of the word 'relativity' and the beautiful Dylan Thomas poem (I love it, but once was enough), I felt moved to point of tears at every sentimental and poignant moment (23 years later scene I am looking at you through drenched eyes) and enthralled by every aspect of the space mission. The finale may have felt a little too quick and neat (although it still totally worked for me) , and I wondering whether an extended cut exists and will be available for home video, because I will eat that shit up! As for the over-exposition debate, I am in the camp that would suggest that one of the main themes (aside from the transcendence of love) is communication - and that is what we get! People conversing about things they need to discuss and talk about to get through the situation at hand. If Nolan had approached this any differently most of the cynics would have still complained - explain too much and he is pandering and spoon-feeding, explain too little and he is being too ambiguous and trying to ape Kubrick or Malick.

Is Interstellar aiming to be 2001: A Space Odyssey for the new age? I sincerely doubt it, and I feel Nolan would be the first to admit that he is not worthy of de-crowning Kubrick, but the film is certainly a loving ode to Kubrick, Tarkovsky and Spielberg in many ways, with much more of its own identity than J.J. Abrams achieved with Super 8. I believe it to be a wondrous sci-fi epic with richly drawn characters trying to navigate and maintain the human experience at all cost, and even if a few little grievances hold it back from a perfect rating, the cinematic experience, and everything it gets right, far exceeds any negative feelings I could direct towards it. A film that will be debated, discussed and dissected for a long time to come, and one certainly not to be seen just once!

P.S. I think if you love Zemeckis' Contact, you will eat this film up similarly.

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