‘Interstellar’ is epic and exhausting; Christopher Nolan’s latest is his most ambitious yet

When one sees “A Christopher Nolan Film” on a poster for an upcoming movie, one should have some idea of what to expect. His films are usually large-scale, brainy and action packed blockbusters, which is what Interstellar is – for the most part.

Believe me when I say this: nothing can prepare you for Interstellar, which hits theaters Friday, Nov. 7. It is visually unlike anything to come out in recent memory, the acting is all top-notch, and the ambition is much appreciated. Yet there is something missing in order to call it another great Nolan film.

Before I delve too deep into the insanely complex and science-fiction heavy world of Interstellar, I must preface by saying that I am a huge Christopher Nolan fan. He is by far my favorite director working right now because he is able to tell incredibly rich, layered and creative blockbuster stories that can be immensely rewarding not only on the first viewing, but on multiple viewings as well. The Dark Knight is my favorite movie of all time, Inception is in my top five and Memento definitely earns a spot in my top ten. So yes, I was very much looking forward to Interstellar.

As with many Nolan films, Interstellar was shrouded with secrecy leading up to its release. Everyone knew that it was a space-travel, science-fiction movie starring an A-list cast which included the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Nolan’s favorite Michael Caine, but outside of that not much was released. I personally believe this was for the best, and if you think you know what’s going to happen based off what you have seen from the posters and trailers, then trust me when I say it’s so much more than it seems.

This is by far Nolan’s most ambitious movie yet, and that is really saying something. The film presents absolutely crazy science-fiction theories and runs with it with a full head of steam. I give credit to Nolan for having the guts to be this ambitious, but he does overreach on a lot of the material.

Interstellar is epic, exhilarating, and heady but above all it is exhausting. The film runs at a somewhat ridiculous 170 minute runtime, which is similar to The Dark Knight Rises’ time, but that film felt much more efficient. After about an hour of some much needed setup, the film takes off into space and never really lets the audience catch up with its insane ideas. It seems that Nolan was anxious to get everything out without letting the film breathe or play in its epic world.

The comparisons between Inception and Interstellar are very much warranted as both films are structured in a similar way. Both films present the audiences with a somewhat puzzle-like narrative structure that toy with the audiences’ mind. What worked so well in Inception is that it established its rules and made it seem like the audience could figure things out even though Nolan was always ten steps ahead of everyone; what doesn’t work in Interstellar is that the rules seem to bend and change at will since there are science-fiction elements and the audience feels manipulated by them. The puzzle seems unsolvable to everyone besides Nolan, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just not as fun as Inception.

Also like Inception, Interstellar is impossible to fully comprehend in just one viewing, but the problem with Interstellar is that is very heady and filled with science-fiction jargon that might not be appealing for repeat viewing. As soon as Inception ended, I wanted the projectionist to rewind the film back to the beginning; with Interstellar, I wanted to take a much needed nap and rest my brain for multiple hours. I will for sure see Interstellar again, but not any time soon.

Despite these things, I actually enjoyed my viewing of Interstellar. It is by far the most epic, ambitious and visually stunning film to come out this year, but sometimes that’s the problem with it. Before this film I would have argued that Nolan not only has not made a bad film, he’s only made great films.

Consider Interstellar his first “good” film, which is impressive seeing that he is only ten films into his career.