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Ambitious movie that ultimately flatters to deceive.
This is my first movie review on IMDb and I will try to break down the movie according to the following categories. Before anyone starts calling me anti- Nolan, I would be among the first to admit that Nolan is one of the most original, bold and ambitious directors in Hollywood today.
The plot and basic premise: Christopher Nolan's forte is the ideas and thoughts he conveys through his films. Most of Nolan's films (like the Prestige, Inception and Memento) are carried by the power of ideas. The premise of this movie did not seem very original to me (seemed like a mash- up of various science fiction movies such as 2001 and various time travel movies) nor did it seem to be very plausible. The idea of abandoning all of humanity to starve and die on Earth while attempting to populate planets that are completely devoid of any life and are orbiting a black hole seemed highly questionable at best, and downright ridiculous at worst. The concept of love saving the day seemed like a very convenient and lazy way to tie the final act of the movie together.
Characters and cast: The characters of Cooper and Murph are well developed, and the relationship between father and daughter is genuine and heartwarming. However, the other characters are poorly written and one dimensional. Anne Hathaway's character is annoying and distracting, and if you come to think of it, completely unnecessary. I was not distracted by Matt Damon's cameo role as some people were, but his character could easily have been portrayed by a less well known actor. However, a special mention to the robot TARS who brings some much needed comic relief to an otherwise somber movie.
Pacing: The weakest part of the movie, IMO. The part of the story that takes place before the trip is given way too much screen time (it was one of the reasons why the movie felt excessively long to many viewers.) The trip between Earth and the worm-hole (which was 2 years away) was covered in a couple of minutes of screen time. The journey through the wormhole itself, was ridiculously short and was covered in a few seconds. For a movie called Interstellar, Nolan completely failed to depict the vast galactic distance between the Earth and the astronauts.
Dialogue: Overly dramatic at times, cringe-worthy on a few occasions. Dialogue is usually the weakest aspect of Nolan's movies and I cannot recall a single quotable sentence from the entire movie.
Soundtrack: Some of Hans Zimmer's pieces are very powerful here, especially the one played when Cooper takes leave of his family before leaving Earth. At other times, the music tries to create a sense of drama and tension that feels forced and artificial.
Special Effects: The movie had good special effects, but did not greatly enhance the movie experience as a whole.
The science: I have no major issues on this front, since this is supposed to be a science fiction film and I am not usually concerned if the director takes some artistic freedom in order to convey his message. Nolan did a good job of using Einstein's general theory of relativity to show some interesting ideas such as Cooper still being a middle aged man while his daughter was dying from old age. The science in the movie is plausible until the point where Cooper enters the event horizon of the black hole- from thereon Nolan takes a completely hypothetical approach in order to progress the plot. The issues that I have with this part of the film are more to do with the storytelling rather than the science itself.
Overall, I think this movie merits a 6.5/10. It was an ambitious effort by Nolan and his crew, but the movie was let down by lazy storytelling, one dimensional side characters, poor dialogue and dubious pacing.