As something of a Chris Nolan ‘fanboy’ my anticipation for 2014’s Interstellar was at an all time high. Coming off the back of the Dark Knight series, his next feature, Interstellar, kept Nolan firmly secured in the science-fiction realm that he had essentially conquered with 2010’s Inception.
Upon first viewing, I have to say I was slightly disappointed. Unfortunately it instantly became my least favourite Nolan film to date, which was very concerning for me. I mean, all the elements were there. I love the genre, I love the cast, I love the score, I love the references to 2001: A Space Odyssey (of which I’m a huge fan). I love the central idea of searching the Universe for another planet to inhabit after the Earth ends. I love the cinematography (which included some of the most visually striking and memorable imagery of his career), I just didn’t love the film.
I think, because I’m so used to Nolan’s films being like cinematic puzzles, Interstellar (for the most part) seemed to be the most linear narrative he’d constructed. As appose to Memento and Inception for example, Interstellar (for the first half at least) plays out rather straight forwardly from A – B. Naturally, once they get into space, things start to unravel and time periods start to interweave, but until that point, I’d found the films pace rather slow in comparison to his previous work.
As well as this, I’d found a distinct lack of wit in the film. The Dark Knight Series in particular used such clever dialogue and set pieces that prompted ‘awe’ from the audience as they basked in the intelligence of their construction. Back and forths between Alfred and Bruce Wayne for example were definite highlights, and the Joker’s deadly games in psychological deception were wonderfully played out to help keep the film as razor sharp as one of Batman’s bat-shaped throwing stars.
In Interstellar however they seem to substitute the trademark Nolan witticisms for more hard scientific fact. Because the science they’re exploring is so complex, I felt a lot of the dialogue was taken up by explaining the method. All these reservations aside, I re-watched the film recently and fell in love with it.
I watched it with a new mind, and through a new pair of eyes and took it for what it was. Without drawing comparisons to anything else in Nolan’s back catalogue, I watched it as a stand alone piece of cinema, and I got it. It finally clicked as to why people love it so much and hold it in such high regard. It’s an incredible achievement that revels in the majesty of cinema, and is made by someone who loves cinema, the history of cinema and wants to prove that a 165 million dollar blockbuster with an A-list cast doesn’t have to pander to anyone. They can be as “out there” and as complicated and intelligently made as you like, and can be a huge success. For that alone. I applaud you Christopher Nolan.