It’s baffling to know that a filmmaker—Christopher Nolan—who was once so interested in basic human conundrums chose to be so indifferent to space. Because isn’t intergalactic space—the unfathomable vastness, which can’t be distilled or explained—the most profound experience? Why? Because it borders on transcendence. Because once you have reached your limit—or, the limit of entire mankind—it squashes you, because you don’t have the answer to, “what next?” How could have Nolan remained so oblivious to the most fundamental human curiosity? Why did Nolan become so fixated on telling a ‘story’? I didn’t care for Cuarón’s Gravity a lot but, boy, did that film make me feel insignificant; did that film tell me that we are ultimately and fundamentally, in the larger scheme of things, alone.
I have found most Nolan films to be quite moving, even though they are riddled with their own unique problems: expository dialogues; a rather simple plot rendered complicated; the externalization of pathos. However, with respect to Interstellar, it’s not that Nolan has morphed into a different filmmaker—he’s pretty much the same guy, the only difference is, here, he believes poignancy can be only sought through human beings. Humans who talk a lot. Humans who talk all the bloody time. Humans who don’t internalize but verbalize their loss. And that’s the most glaring—even unforgivable—flaw of Interstellar: the fact that Nolan refuses to recognize the world his characters are trying to inhabit. If you have seen Inception, you would know that Nolan is great at world building. Sometimes a fantastic setting—one that gleefully toys with the world’s mundane rules—can tell its own story.
The most frustrating bit about watching Interstellar is that, at most times, you are aware that you are watching a film. Compare it to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey—I hate comparing movies, but I can’t help in this case—and you will understand at one point in the film, Kubrick stopped giving a fuck about how people were going to respond to his film. I didn’t understand either 2001: A Space Odyssey or Interstellar completely, but I have gone back to 2001 to engage with its universe, I don’t think Interstellar interested me enough that I want to visit the film again. But who am I kidding? These reasons don’t make sense. The main reason I keep going back to 2001 and won’t go back to Interstellar is rather simple and devoid of intelligence: Kubrick didn’t give a fuck; Nolan does. That’s all there is to it.