A muddled, overlong, wannabe epic with Kubrickian pretensions, Interstellar eventually disappears up its own wormhole.
Ostensibly a sci-fi spectacular with Matthew McConaughey leading a desperate search to find a new earth and safeguard the future of mankind, it works better as an emotional exploration of the bonds between fathers and children.
An impressive cast that also includes Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, Mackenzie Foy, an uncredited Matt Damon and a poetry-spouting Michael Caine tries valiantly to make sense of a dense script packed with cod science, schoolboy physics and gobbledegook.
A distraction comes in the form of the special effects, though it must be said that director/co-writer Christopher Nolan has been beaten to the punch by Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity.
Interstellar aims for – yearns for – gravitas but succeeds only in demanding attention. On McConaughey’s journey into the inky cosmos minutes pass like hours. At times Interstellar feels the same.
And in a film that borrows liberally from a clutch of classics – there are oblique references to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Space Cowboys – it is the humanity that provides heart-breaking moments borne of guilt, love and abandonment.
McConaughey commits the supreme act of betrayal when he leaves. Yet he has a stark choice: save the world (and his child) or stay home and watch the planet and all on it die. Her need for him drives the movie.
After all the millions and all the hype Interstellar emerges as a glorified Star Trek episode. It may also be the moment when the bubble burst on Nolan’s career as an untouchable auteur.