Watching Interstellar is the very first time I haven’t been able to engage with a Christopher Nolan film. Usually I am swept up in the intelligent, grand scale and bold vision of his movies. Inception was as cerebral as it gets and even the power of the Dark Knight trilogy raised it high above other superhero films.
But something didn’t quite get me with Interstellar. I went into it with high expectations because of Nolan’s pedigree but it started slowly and didn’t pick up. For the first hour I struggled to understand a word Matthew McConaughey said. Of course there have been comments before about Nolan’s use of sound. The voice of Bane was widely discussed in Dark Knight Rises but also in that film the dialogue between Gary Oldman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the hospital was, at one point, almost unintelligible. The same was true this time with a key piece of information, a twist that’s intended to deliver major impact, being mumbled.
The major talking point about Interstellar was whether audiences could cope with the science. Frankly, I think grasping the physics of the plot was the least of an audience’s worries. I spent far more time wondering whether he was going to bump into Sandra Bullock or Jodie Foster while he was up there.
That latter reference is crucial too. Whereas Interstellar was pitched as Christopher Nolan’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” I don’t think it was anywhere near as original or as significant as Stanley Kubrick’s work. It felt far too much like Contact, a movie which left many saying, “Really? That’s your ending? That’s what you were building up to?”
In some instances I’m willing to give a film a second viewing to see whether or not it just needed time to bed in but Interstellar is 2 hours and 40 minutes long. I just don’t think I can justify that amount of time to a film that had this many niggles.
It’s a shame but I think I’ll have to wait until his next offering to see if Christopher Nolan can reclaim his crown. He’d been so consistently successful in entertaining me that he had become a modern day Hitchcock, turning out hit after hit. Perhaps he is human after all.