johnlink ranks INTERSTELLAR (2014)

Christopher Nolan is one of those guys for whom it feels you need to have their movies in your collection. Some directors make movies, some directors churn out movies, and some directors really OWN their movies. Nolan rarely make minor films, even when he is hitting the comic book circuit. INTERSTELLAR is Nolan’s pace opus, but is it any good?


I watched INTERSTELLAR (2014) on 9.13.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

Comparing Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is inevitable. Both are about the unknown in space, both are about abstract ideas, both try and get science right. The idea of considering the theory of relativity as it pertains to space travel is a long overdue addressing of the elephant in the sci-fi room: Anyone traveling at near light speeds will not grow older as those not traveling at that speed are left behind and age in a relatively quicker fashion.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

INTERSTELLAR takes place at some undetermined near future (much the same way Nolan’s INCEPTION did), and that future is bleak. While the world looks and acts much like ours, food is running out and the population has dramatically declined. Humanity is in its last gasps, even if high school and middle school go on as planned. One family has a father, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who was once in the space program and has since been regulated to farming. His daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy), thinks a ghost in the house is sending messages. Cooper doesn’t see anything intelligent behind the messages, but they lead him to the super secret NASA base led by the father and daughter team of Brand and Brand (Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway).

Soon enough, Cooper is leaving his family behind to go on a super secret mission of great importance. We then get into the nature of love, the meaning of survival, and the definition of family. You know, light stuff.


But for all that, INTERSTELLAR is a movie which has 70s sensibilities in terms of theme and careful slowness mixed with the editing of a modern fast-moving blockbuster. This is a movie with wonderful attention to detail: all shots from space are void of sound (and most leave out the score to prove a point). But for all of its care, it is always cognizant of moving forward. Where Kubrick’s 2001 takes long deep breaths of resetting air, INTERSTELLAR continues to drive plot forward (which is a compliment) through all of its near three hour runtime.

Some may be turned off by its quiet and its care. Certainly more are turned off by its dedication to some semblance of science and its aversion to action sequences (the one bit involving Cooper in a fight results in a clear loss). Even more may find the climactic sequence to be too abstract even though the very final scenes revert to standard Hollywood happiness. All of that may be fair, but all of that assumes that this is more movie than film. Nolan is not making another Batman film here. Instead, he is making one of the films he hopes to be in his canon in another twenty years. Ridley Scott recently attempted the same with his less-than-loved PROMETHEUS. But, where PROMETHEUS is good but has the unfortunate weight of ALIEN on its shoulder, INTERSTELLAR is a wonderful standalone film.

This is a movie which invites rewetting, and not necessarily for the twists in the film. The twists are good, but not great. They are interesting. Is there hidden stuff in the first hour? I’m not too sure. But it would be enlightening to give that first act a watch again. But the reason this is a movie to watch more than once is the direction by Nolan and the performances, particularly by McConaughey. This is just an old fashioned, solid film. It may not be for everyone, but it is for me.



The sound design in this movie is awesome. Both in what is included and what is not. We don’t always talk sound design in movies, but this is one which would be the text book example in a Film 101 class on how sound design can elevate a film.


FINAL SCORE: 8.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on September 16, 2015.

One Response to “johnlink ranks INTERSTELLAR (2014)”

  1. Not a great movie, but still a very good one. Which is to say that any movie from Christopher Nolan, is better than what we’re used to seeing. Nice review John.

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