Sunday, 30 November 2014
Director Christopher Nolan terms this an "experimental Movie" which employs "impressionistic sound" I saw this in an IMAX theatre and visually it is stunning - but it is the sound people will be talking about more, which is a pity. There is plenty of mumbling and dialogue obscured by music or other sound effects. Nolan spent six months editing the sound to get the desired effect - he says of particularly notable mumble that “Information is communicated in various different ways over the next few scenes. That’s the way I like to work; I don’t like to hang everything on one particular line.” Last week one cinema in Rochester, New York, posted a notice confirming that its equipment was in full working order in apparent response to complaints regarding Interstellar’s sound mix. “Christopher Nolan mixed the soundtrack with an emphasis on the music,” read posters at the Cinemark Tinseltown USA and Imax. “This is how it is intended to sound.”
Whether everyone will be happy paying £18+ for a three hour pressure sore inducing mumblethon, is a moot point - particularly when you get to the other main talking point - working out what the film is actually about! Its scope and ambition exceed its accessibility. Unlike Tree of Life which asked questions and left viewers the space to work out their own responses, Interstellar not only asks the questions but tries to give all the answers too. Does it work? Not entirely - no, the plot and dialogue are overly dependent on quantum physics. There are plenty of ethical and moral questions to explore in this film. Is survival of the species an end that justifies any means?
The overall exploration of metaphysical concepts in the film is worthy in the over-familiar dystopian future but for me the film is overly sentimental - especially around the relationship between the central character Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murph played as she ages by Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain and Ellen Burstyn! The theory of relativity comes into play - you need to be up on your Black Holes (quantum singularities), gravitational time dilation, Newton's laws of motion and tesseracts! A central theme is that love and gravity are dimensions that extend throughout the universe and can be conduits of communication from one time to another.
The visuals are impressive and there is plenty of great acting - especially Foy, Chastain and McConaughey. There are performances from Michael Caine, Matt Damon and Anne Hathaway but by the time you get to towards the 2 hour mark you forget why you are on this journey and the final 45 minutes are not the easiest to understand as so many unlikely things happen one after the other.
This is a film worth seeing - but take a cushion. I don't think it's worthy of all the hype but it does have many redeeming features. IMAX is spectacular but don't sit too close to the screen as you will get a crick in the neck and miss some of the action as it happens on a different part of the screen to the bit you are looking at! I'll give it 7/10