The appealing thing about this film is the story. The direction – expression of themes, tone and ideas is basic and boring. The way the story is told is not particularly remarkable, the writing – dialogue, dramatic elements, structure are all incredibly average.
The story is interesting, though. This is not a movie about space though it is set in space and as a film set in space, it does not do better than other images/portrayals of stories in space.
This is a story about time. We approach, in a roundabout way, the idea of interpersonal selfishness. I’m reminded of a moment in the truly bad romantic television series, Roswell; where the love interest asks our leading alien to put their relationship above the fate of the world, and he rejects her wish.
Matt McConaughey as Cooper is supposed to save the world, to do what he’s spent his life wishing he could do, in a world that only cares about food and therefore only cares about farming. One of my worst nightmares, it certainly would be. Personally this story considers fears, attitudes and emotional scenarios that are highly relevant to me. But that’s only one reason I like the story, it’s also beautifully designed.
It’s a mystery and I dare you to try and predict the ending. I saw two seconds of the ending of this film when someone else was watching it, before I had a chance to see it myself. That would usually ruin the mystery for me. In this case, it did not. I still had no idea that it was going to turn out the way it did.
I say the story is great but the writing is not and the directing is pedestrian; because the director for this film, Nolan, is like a skateboarder who holds onto the tail end of an automobile to catch a ride. He puts nothing of himself, expresses nothing interesting, brings nothing valuable to the materialisation of this film. What the film is about and the ideas that are told peek through the ordinary way it is told, and they shine, despite this.
We follow a man who dreams of an older world, a world that had value. A return to that world, to wanting the best for our children. For wanting us and ours to be free to do what we want, to wish and struggle for something better. Not to be judged while still in primary school as good farmer or not farmer and therefore useless – worthless.
A planet is starving so it simplifies and minimises its priorities, this very process, this very decision weakens the planet to breaking point. And one man is given the chance to do what he dreams, just like the old days, to put himself to a job that he was born for – but in return he must leave his family behind.
With better writing and direction, the sequences between Damon and McConaughey could have been so powerful. I felt along for the ride, waiting for the mystery to be revealed to me, and gratefully I watched, as it was so. However, the scenes that are most important to the story weren’t artfully presented – they weren’t deeply explored with imagery and telling/insightful dialogue. So they didn’t charge the film with meaning, the story was alone in a magma of lies and sparkle. It was an entertaining film, but it could have been so much more.