Monday, November 10, 2014

'Interstellar' Poses Good Questions; Answers Few

"Interstellar," the Christopher Nolan epic with the all-star cast, has left me in a quandary. About halfway through the long (168 minutes) science fiction story, I was ready to declare it the best movie of the year. By the end, I was hoping to remember some of the good stuff long enough to tell you about it.

The movie raises interesting--fascinating, even--questions about mortality, dimension, physical understanding, scientific boundaries and all the exestential questions you can muster, but something important is missing. Maybe it's a soul.

"Interstellar" is--above all--interesting in that it asks good questions. It tries, in a clunky way, to answer some of them and maybe that is the mistake. I don't know that we can answer the questions it poses. We simply don't have the technology or the understanding to even pose some of them intelligently.

Still, we are dealing with a technically well-made movie that obviously has a huge budget and all kinds of Oscar ambitions. Big-name actors (Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, Matt Damon, Michael Caine) are tossed in almost effortlessly, but the performances are rarely above average. The look is good, the score impressive, some of the special effects special, the sound not so much. I often missed a good bit of dialogue because it was so thoroughly underplayed.

"Interstellar" has good intentions that I don't believe were achieved. It talks too much, pauses too long, drags out scenes and makes few real points. But it is entertaining at one level and probably worth the admission price.

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