Christopher Nolan’s mega-million dollar film had attracted huge anticipation months prior to its release. Given Nolan’s previous track record, I went to the cinema with high hopes but also a sense of pessimistic apprehension that Nolan must one day make a film I was disappointed by.
The story follows Copper (Matthew McConaughey) a widower caring for his two young children in the midst of a worldwide famine and global destruction that threatens all life on earth. When Copper and his ten-year-old daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy) stumble upon a secret space-shuttle base run by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) who believes he may have found a way to save the human race from extinction. But the price Copper must pay for the opportunity to save life on earth is to leave his children perhaps forever.
Surely a trailer would have popped up somewhere even if you have seen it unwillingly and in this we see the film’s blend between sci-fi action and family drama, mostly concerning the relationship between Copper and his daughter. It is in this story that I find the film’s greatest strength, Mackenzie Foy arguably gives the best performance of the film (yes, even with the acting talents of, well, the rest of the surrounding cast) she makes the scene in which Copper departs for his voyage into space incredibly heartfelt and transforms the stubborn, rebellions and intelligent young girl into the film’s most compelling and sympathetic character.
Now, I must also admit that my apprehension upon going into the cinema was partly caused by the film’s 166-minute runtime, even for an avid film fan that’s a long time to sit in a cinema! And I’m sad to say that the film’s content wasn’t enough to pull me through it and I was anticipating the roll of the credits if only to see daylight! This criticism may be unfair as sci-fi has never been my favourite genre, but I couldn’t help but think the scenes in space could’ve done with an hour shaved off the time. Think how Wolf of Wall Street may have benefitted if a few of the cheering shots and long speeches and been edited a little, then any editing to the exposition details in Interstellar would have been something to cheer for.
Ultimately, I feel the film really falls on its lack of compelling characters. I have already mentioned how I was interested in young Murph’s story (courtesy of Mackenzie Roy) and cared for Copper’s desperate crusade to get back to his children; but for the most part I didn’t care enough about what happened to the characters. Whether they appeared selfish, dull or merely undeveloped I struggled to connect with this film in the way I have with other Nolan projects because of this.
The film does have some interesting twists; one I must admit I wasn’t all that surprised by, but the other, despite being sceptical a first is actually very moving on how it draws itself back to the father and daughter relationship that is at the core of the story.
Despite not being sold by the story and failing to be captivated the way I had hoped to be by this film it does offer some extraordinary visual and sound effects, that makes me urge you to see it in cinemas to experience the full effect. It may not be up there with Nolan’s finest work, but my hopes for his future ventures into cinema are still high.