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Review: Interstellar “It will have you punching the air in euphoria….or rolling on the floor laughing”

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The One Where Nolan Doesn’t Learn From His Mistakes But Cranks Out A Flawed Masterpiece Anyway.

I was lucky enough to see Alien and Aliens at the cinema last week. A random one off showing that managed to pleasantly surprise me when they both turned out to be the Director’s Cuts – giving me even more time to imagine I was out in place. Plentiful space. Drifting.

Seemingly I’m on a roll, as I’ve just returned from Interstellar. And the effect that film had on me was simple and profound all at the same time. Driving back, I looked up at the clouds, and tried to project my mind beyond them. Hoping the road would curl impossibly upwards and allow me to hit 88mph and travel somewhere else. Namely Home so I didn’t have to deal with the monotony of driving. Seriously. Who wants to drive when they’ve just spent two hours odd of a surprisingly brisk two hours forty with Matthew Mc up in space? Plentiful space. Not me. I want a robot. I want a mini space ship. And I want Anne Hathaway as a co-Pilot. If she promises not to sing. I want to explore.

Because Interstellar has the potential to get people to think of things beyond what they see. What they can hear. What they can comprehend. I’d imagine, much like Tarantino on his recent viewing, Kubrick would be whooping with joy. It’s a film that, unlike Gravity last year, makes you want to get out to space. To explore. Pioneer. To lead by example and see how great we can become as people.

Now that’s never going to be with out pitfalls. I won’t name the big ones here, but you should know they’re… Plentiful.

The film isn’t perfect by any means. In fact one turn with an hour to go had me face palming my luxurious IMAX seat. Seriously, Nolan? It’s like he read Phil’s Dark Knight review from back in the day and said: “FU, Phil. I’m untouchable now”. Borderline nonsensical.

How he’s got this little art film made for just shy of £200M is a bit barmy, frankly. Especially in lieu of how disappointing Dark Knight Rises was. Which, for me, was on a par with the disappointment I felt reading Tookey’s Batman and Robin review all those years make. Jesting aside, with Nolan’s talent, the excuses should be pretty thin.

It’s not right he can keep scoring films over the dialogue. It happens several times here, and looks like amateur hour. Said score is a grower, for sure. As I type I have Zimmer’s undisputed masterpiece on (Man Of Steel). I hope Interstellar grows like that score did. In fact, the MOS score is far more fitting. Allegedly Nolan gave Zimmer his own one page script rather than a cut of the film. That’s an interesting concept. And would explain how Zimmer has taken his own particular journey. I’m sure it will make a bit more sense with future viewings nut unlike Supes, there’s a surprising lack of soaring.

The other flaws come around some key lines of dialogue. Apparently they’ve started teaching that the lunar landings were fake. Great idea. But how would Matty Mc not know that was the case? Is he a distanced Dad who pays no attention? It serves as exposition only, and unfortunately Nolan is becoming a bit ham-fisted at fitting dialogue in for bits like that. There’s a number of different ways he could’ve got that fact in.

Much like later character reveals you either debate the characters motives afterwards or think it’s retarded. There’s merit to both. But Nolan needs to watch himself. He can’t ask the characters to bring their A-game in terms of Science etc only to expect them to shut a few brain cells off for his hammy dialogue/plot contrivances.

That said, Interstellar got me. And it got me hard. Three times I was crying my eyes out – and I have no problem admitting it. Much like About Time, the subject matter just cut to the core of me. I’ve a new born on the way Monday and I underestimated how much I’d feel gut-punched by Matt leaving his kids behind. I think Nolan nailed that. This is a film about time. And about love. And trying to love across all space and time.

It’s crucial people know what they’re going into though. Shots of Saturn are going to have people buying 4K TVs to try and reach out and touch – but the film is surprisingly light on spectacle. A few giant waves aside, JJ Abrams’ Star Treks have far more action/spectacle to them in the form of what a modern Hollywood audience would demand. Nolan wants more than that, though.

This is the ultimate Kubrick tribute. Slow. Thoughtful. Full of more questions than answers. Arrogant in its delivery. My Dad’s probably face palming his sofa reading that, but expectations will be everything here. You can’t go in expecting Gravity. Melodramatic impossible manoeuvres aside, they’re cut from a different cloth. I half expected Koba to walk out and smash a monolith up. Maybe wink at the camera.

I’m glad he didn’t. And I’m glad Nolan’s risked the wrath of all and sundry to produce something that surprised me. When was the last time you were genuinely surprised in the cinema? I was certainly surprised here. This isn’t really about space at all. It’s about a Father/Child bond. Brave move that, Nolan.

It’s long and unwieldy at times. The last twenty minutes will have you punching the air in euphoria…. Or rolling on the floor laughing. It’s divisive, no question. It’s going to polarise people. Piss them off, for sure.

A word of advice. If you’re the type of person that’s still going on about Prometheus, whilst being OK about the original crew prodding and then sticking their face in alien eggs…. Avoid!

Final word to Matthew. I’m over the moon at this comeback. I’ve always liked him but what he’s doing here is the heart and soul of the movie. Let’s have him duke it out with Mr Pitt, please. It’s a hell of a thing.

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