Interstellar holds a number of amazing moments, but instead of using these moments as an entry point to create depth, Nolan diminishes these moments by gleaning over them, moving to the next point, and thus delimiting what could have been.
The moments I speak of include but are not limited to the following: Cooper returning to find that 23 years has passed on Earth; Black astronaut explaining how he has been alone for 23 years; Matt Damon expressing joy at seeing life for the first time in who knows how long; Damon admitting that he lied, and that he’s a coward; time become physical reality, a fourth dimension, within black hole; Murphy’s realization of her father’s actions pulling strings. Any one of these moments, potentially brimming for character study and introspection, could itself be the subject of a 3 hour film.
By gleaning over these moments, Nolan reduces their poignancy, all in service of creating a (questionably paced) film of epic scale. Interstellar is ambitious and undeniably comprehensive, but its grand amount of content undermines the value of each of its components. In other words, the film’s scale causes it to necessarily trivialize the parts that make it up. It simply tries to do too much. As a result, Interstellar’s themes come forward on a purely superficial level.
This all said, Interstellar boasts some truly spectacular imagery, masterly produced in 70 mm film. Even viewing it in IMAX digital, the origin film grain gives the film’s aesthetic a rather authentic feel. The lack of CGI allows for plausibility in this science-fiction space epic. It also sets the tone of the film, which at times hearkens back to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Tarkovsky’s Solaris, and other space exploration films shot on film in the mid-late 20th century.
Moreover, what I especially appreciate with Interstellar is how Nolan continues to attempt to visualize the invisible. In 70mm film, he tries to actualize and visually convey elements which, outside of film, can only be accessed through intuition. Ideas about gravity, time, space–concepts which don’t truly have physical properties (that we know of) and cannot be observed–are made tangible in that Nolan presents a physical plane and physical parameters to comprehend them. As such, scientific theory becomes realized, to great effect, in the film.
77/100 – Very Good