Matthew McConaughey takes a dangerous star trek to save his people in The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan's new, big budget sci-fi movie Interstellar, marking quite a departure from the roles that made him famous.
The movie is set for release on Friday and will available in Imax. In Interstellar, Earth is becoming unlivable due to environmental changes and the Oscar winner's character, a NASA test pilot, farmer and widower named Cooper, is recruited for an important mission: To lead a team of astronauts, including one played by fellow Academy Award recipient Anne Hathaway, and take an experimental spacecraft out to space to find a new planet to live on. The movie also deals with time travel.
Twilight alum Mackenzie Foy portrays Cooper's daughter, Murphy, at age 10, while Jessica Chastain and Ellen Burstyn play the character when she is an adult. Michael Caine plays a scientist who masterminded the mission, who is also Hathaway's character's father. Christopher had directed the actor in theDark Knighttrilogy. He and his brother Jonathan Nolan co-write the screenplay of Interstellar.
Following praise of McConaughey's performances inDallas Buyers Club, which earned him his first Oscar, and HBO'sTrue Detective, will the McConaissance continue with Christopher's take on space and time travel?
Find out what these critics said about Interstellar below.
io9.com's Annalee Newitzcalls the movie "the best and worst space opera you'll ever see." She says that the film's "greatest strength" is its "visual impact" but that it "tries to tell the story of humanity, and that's where it stumbles."
"Watching Interstellar is really like watching two movies slowly collide with each other," she writes. "One is a masterpiece of space opera, whose vistas will fill you with wonder and give you hope for the future of humanity in space (and time). The other is a predictable, stale melodrama about how absent fathers are actually super great and women exist to channel love."
"The result is a mess," she adds. "But it's a beautiful mess, and one that I wouldn't want you to miss for the world."
Reelviews' James Berardinelli disagrees with Newitz, sayingInterstellar "is science fiction. It's not space opera" and that "it presents a viable future in which space travel, while possible, is dangerous and uncertain."
"There are some tremendous action set pieces and the narrative is wonderfully unpredictable," he writes. "The movie takes some chances with its endgame, which resolves a lot of plot points but at times seems rushed. Interstellar is at its most complex during its final 20 minutes and even those who pay rapt attention may leave the theater with some unanswered questions."
He praises the visual effects, recommending viewers go for the Imax experience, and as for McConaughey's performance, Berardinelli says that Interstellar "will give him another opportunity for Academy recognition."
"He's the glue that holds everything together," he writes. "The supporting cast, which includes Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, is strong, but McConaughey represents the heart and soul of Interstellar."
The Village Voice'sStephanie Zacharek saysInterstellar's special effects are "stellar" but that the director "lacks the human touch" and that the actors "don't stand a shooting star's chance" in the movie. Including McConaughey.
"What he does here isn't acting; it's superacting," she says. "There's no other way to stand up to the manmade-monument quality of this material. In what should be McConaughey's most moving scene—he faces the reality that his children have aged by 23 years, while he's only a few hours older—Nolan trains the camera on the actor's face so we can take the measure of his free-falling tears.
"The tears themselves aren't the issue—it's wholly believable that Cooper would cry," she adds. "But we can see McConaughey working the strings. He's like the Magic Mike version of male vulnerability, turning it all on for show. If he were to work with Nolan all the time, he'd be in grave danger of becoming a neck-tendon actor: He tightens his jaw every time he has to say something of great import, which here is way too often."
Variety's Scott Foundas addresses the "extraordinary mid-film emotional climax," but praises McConaughey's performance.
"The actor plays it beautifully, his face a quicksilver mask of joy, regret and unbearable grief," he says.
"That moment signals a shift inInterstellaritself from the relatively euphoric, adventurous tone of the first half toward darker, more ambiguous terrain—the human shadow areas, if you will, that are as difficult to fully glimpse as the inside of a black hole," he writes. "Nolan, who has always excelled at the slow reveal, catches even the attentive viewer off guard more than once here, but never in a way that feels cheap or compromises the complex motivations of the characters."
Schmoes Know's Kristian Harloff compares Interstellar to Nolan's 2010 sci-fi film Inception, in terms of the plot's complexity, saying, "If you're tuned into every word of Inception, you can follow it…You can tune into every word of this movie and you're still gonna feel like you're in class, going, 'Oh, wait, the professor said this but did he mean this?'"
"I think it really is going to come down to how you feel about the ending and how this all ties up and whether you follow it along," he says. "I was a bit confused throughout it and I still want to revisit it."
"The first hour and a half of this film is spectacular," co-reviewer Mark Ellis adds. "The second hour of this movie...it can leave a lot of people feeling very differently. As soon as we left the theater, everybody had their own opinion on the end of this film."
Ellis praises McConaughey's performance, saying, "We're still riding this wave of how great his resurgence on screen has been and he's awesome as the lead in this." He also says the movie's "emotional tugs" "really worked."
Harloff gave the movie 3.5 out of 5 "schmoes," while Ellis gave it 3.99 "schmoes." ("We went decimals because it's quantum physics.")