Interstellar

Ok, fine. Interstellar becomes the fifth movie in history (and the second this year) that I turned off without finishing.

An hour into the film (of a middling 2 and a half hour running time) we still haven’t actually gotten to act 2. The illusion of being in act 2 is created by relocating to outer space but all of the actual activity is act 1 activity.

I have the patience of Job when it comes to cinema, after all I have put my shingle in for the oeuvre of Andrei Tarkovski. But there is a difference between ‘slow pacing’ and ‘wasting the audience’s attention span.’

(I ‘cheated’ and, after stopping the movie read ahead on the plot and the plot is pedestrian, to be polite about it. With the fact that I didn’t finish the movie properly in mind, this is not a full review just some observations.)

The characters (actually, the writer) commit the unpardonable sin of talking at length about things the audience already knows and Nolan, who never met a camera he didn’t have to move pointlessly, takes a page from the True Detective playbook in having Matthew McConaughey bloodlessly deliver vapid pseudo-philosophical pronouncements while gazing into nowhere.

Act 1 is nothing but dialogue scenes. In fairness to McConaughey, nobody could save those lines and he’s not the only character saddled with unplayable dialogue.

The robots who are clearly modeled poorly on HAL in particular have very “studenty” lines.

I know we are supposed to feel sorry for Murph. The movie demands this of us so unsubtly that it might as well put in an intertitle in all uppercase: “YOU SHOULD BE FEELING SORRY FOR MURPH NOW!!!!” it would be quite as effective and allow the cutting of several “hot air” scenes.

By the time Cooper leaves we hope that she gets run over by a bus so we will be rid of her. This, sadly, does not occur.

It’s possible that, if the movie was much shorter, around 90 minutes I would be more favorably inclined. You have to earn every minute of screen time. Interstellar doesn’t.

Grade: Ineligible for a grade

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Opinion journalism

I read today that we are in the “golden age of opinion journalism.” First, there’s no such thing as opinion journalism any more than there is such a thing as dry water. But I don’t think I’ve read a challenging or unexpected opinion piece in at least ten years. The fundamental reason for this is, I think, the entrenchment of certain hermeneutic postures in the media industry. The doctrine that there are only isolated facts and no metanarrative, no big truth, has hopelessly compromised the very thing it sought to exalt: the facts.