There is such economy in the screenplay- the word “ghosts” is mentioned like 4 times in the first 8 minutes—I think Nolan is the far superior filmmaker (and writer) but I do see similarities with m night Shyamalan (they create labyrinths) and I think critics have a hard time with that sort of level of calculation (I think detractors would say it borders on manipulation)—Spielberg does it as well— Matthew McConaughey’s cooper character says “I’m not always going to be there to help you”- I think some would say this is good form setting up the plot—others hate the transparency—I do find myself getting annoyed upon repeat viewings—there’s too much foreshadowing
I do adore the “we’re explorers, not caretakers” as a mantra for Nolan himself as an inventive auteur—look at what he did with Batman—clearly not a caretaker
As a lover of the film, I’m disappointed there’s not a ton of interesting shots in the first 41 minutes—really the first time my head is turned is the shot of McConaughey driving away from home at 41 minute sin
I do love the interviewing of older couples sections thrown it- it’s taken from warren beatty’s reds and when harry met sally
There’s a very well earned emotional connection between father and daughter- murphy and cooper
Stunning exteriors on Matt Damon’s world
It is a major accomplishment for McConaughey
The parallel editing sequence during Damon’s betrayal solidifies the film as a top 10 of the year quality and is certainly a main auteur trademark for Nolan- it’s aided by a wonderful organ score that drives the sequence by Hans Zimmer
A flaw for me remains the scene where old murph (played by Ellen Burstyn) and McConaughey finally meet. It’s such an emotionally pivotal scene- this is the moment that the film has largely been leading up to for 2 ½ hours at that point and is the main driving motivation for the two main characters – and it’s literally 75 seconds from the start of the meeting to her character saying “you go”
In the archives and certainly in the top 10 of 2014
Since we both share a humongous admiration for Christopher Nolan, I highly respect your evaluation of Interstellar but I’d have to disagree with the placement at #92 of the decade (that makes it a HR right?). In my estimation, the films is easily a MS and closer to the top 30 of the decade. What about the other readers of the blog, what do you think of Interstellar and where do you think it belongs in the best of lists ?
@Cinephile– truth be told- it would be off the top 100 if I updated my top 100 of the decade today.
@Drake– If I had to explain my evaluation, I’d point to the MP level space sequences which I believe are up there with the most beautiful of the whole decade. It’s true that it starts slowly but when it gets to the main “setting”, it stylistically explodes. Nonetheless, it’s your opinion and it’s totally fair.
You’re on the right track @cinephile. Interstellar is a top 25 film of the decade and Nolan’s 3rd greatest film overall.
@Matt Harris—I rewatched it yesterday and I was blown away. Were you’d have it in the best of 2014 ? Ahead of Birdman?
It’s bizarre that the conversation here has gravitated to the handful of the most contentious disagreements Drake and I have had over the past decade… without either he or I being the one to bring it up in any case.
My top 5 of 2014 was:
1. Interstellar (Nolan)
2. Inherent Vice (PT Anderson)
3. Birdman (Innaritu)
4. Boyhood (Linklater)
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel (W. Anderson)
None of them do I consider a transcendent, decade-defining film but each figure into my top 20-50ish of the decade.
@Matt Harris and @Cinephile. haha. How did I know this was coming? I’m split just about half-way between you two and the critical consensus — they have it as the 26th best of 2014. A few nice sequences does not a great film make. There are simply too many superior films from the decade to place it that high.
@Drake— I think the critical consensus misses on a lot of films. The critical establishment underrates Nolan very much. The placement they have his films doesn’t represent the artistic accomplishments this films achieve. “A few nice sequences”. I think there are more than a few and most importantly there are (in my opinion) better than just nice, they are transcendent. Some times what matters is how powerful they are and not how many. Burning for example doesn’t feature transcendent artistry for all of the runtime, but when it does, it’s so strong that place the film overall very high. I wouldn’t have it top 25, I can’t go there (at least yet) but I also can’t think of 100+ better films from this decade. Anyway, I wouldn’t call anyone’s opinion wrong, especially when it comes by you who for evaluation purposes i trust more than everyone out there. I think it’s common to disagree on a few films since I’m on the same page 8/10 times or probably more.
@Cinephile- fair enough. I, for one, am hoping Tenent is more Dunkirk than Interstellar.
Again(like with Ing. Bastards), I am in between your and Matt Harris’ opinion and Drakes opinion. I would have interstellar hovering towards the mid-lower end of the top 100. Not top 30 and not outside the top 100 either.
I like how you appreciate different opinions. We all can have different opinions/disagreement2/10 times(like u mentioned).
However, saying the critical consensus misses out on a lot of films is wrong. You might be about 100 slots higher or lower on certain films, but it is TSPDT after all. Its a culmination of over 10000 movie lists and the opinions/list of several hundreds of professional critics.
@Drake– There’s no doubt about that, Dunkirk is in my opinion the 3rd best film of the decade, an elite masterwork, so we all want Tenet to be closer to Dunkirk. I have a feeling (from the trailers) that Tenet will not reach the aesthetic mastery of Dunkirk, let’s hope I’m wrong.
@Azman– I think @Matt Harris absolutely said it right about TSPDT.
Respectfully to all readers of the blog, I can not with this bad plagiarism.
I agree with Drake’s classification
The critical consensus absolutely misses on films. There is not a professional critic on the planet whose opinion on film I trust as much as Drake… and I still don’t hesitate to call bullshit on him when I feel it appropriate. The TSPDT consensus is a useful tool, a resource, and nothing more. It certainly isn’t gospel.
I have studied and written extensively on Inglourious Basterds (since you brought it up again). More than Drake has, more than any professional critic has, and as of the last time I checked the peer-reviewed Journal databases, more than anyone else in academia has. I don’t feel compelled to shift my view of it (as one of the greatest films ever made) one iota by virtue of its sitting at merely 91st of the 21st century on the TSPDT list, or the fact that Drake (in my view) blasphemously downgraded it last year. As much as I respect Drake and value TSPDT as a resource, I simply know and understand the film better than they do. I don’t say that to be arrogant (though I’m sure it sounds that way), I say it as a simple statement of fact.
As for Interstellar, I have not studied it in that way, so I can’t back up my feelings with nearly the same level of authority. However, I do know that the critical establishment has a long history of failing with Nolan (something Drake agrees with even if he disagrees on this film). So I take their consensus with an entire shaker full of grains of salt. And as for Drake, well we have argued this one a lot over the years so all I’ll say here is that Interstellar is a whole hell of a lot more than merely “a few nice sequences”.
@Matt Harris— Is there a way we can see or find what you written about Inglourious Basterds?
The only one that isn’t locked behind a paywall is my old M.A thesis. If you search my name and Tarantino in google scholar it should be the top entry. If you only want what I wrote on Inglourious Basterds you can find it in the fourth chapter. If you’re curious about what I wrote on Jackie Brown and Kill Bill as well… or the topic of cinephilia. Feel free to read as much or as little as you like.
@Matt Harris— Wow! This is extraordinary! I’ve read the first 14 pages until Jackie Brown. I’m planning to read it all tomorrow. From what I’ve read, it’s an incredible piece, hyped to continue reading it tomorrow!
@Matt Harris Fair enough. I mean you said you had written an extensive analysis on I. Bastards and studied it in extensive detail. I’m sure your knowledge on the Interstellar and Bastards (and a lot of movies in general) is far more than mine.
I’m really sorry if my previous comment offended you. I was trying to say that my opinion on Interstellar is similar to Inglorious Basterds. I think they are pretty similar in quality. In my opinion, I don’t think the movies are as low as Drake says or as high as you and Cinephile do. However, my opinion may change upon repeat viewing. Like I mentioned before, you have studied these movies far more than I have.
I do believe that TSPDT and The Cinema Archives are the 2 best websites for film recommendations/lists. TSPDT because it’s an average of many lists and Drake’s website because I have found so many underseen HR/MS gems that I hadn’t heard of before. For example recently, I saw Central Station. An absolutely incredible movie that I found Drake Highly Recommending but I hadn’t heard of before.
Drake’s List and TSPDT aren’t “gospels” at all. They are just useful tools and majority of the time, their rankings are incredible. These 2 lists are the most reliable movie lists out there. However, in my opinion very few times, there are disagreements and that’s to be expected.
@Matt Harris — thank you for sharing, sir.
We’re on the same page (as we are the vast majority of the time) with TSPDT being a great tool but not gospel, many critics missing on Nolan, and most of your points here (appreciate the kind words on my ability to evaluate as well).
My only comment here- and it is with the utmost respect- is your close proximity and alignment to Inglourious Basterds. I’ve mentioned this before. By and large I believe knowledge and study is an asset– and your knowledge on the subject, this work here, is certainly far beyond mine. However, I’m not entirely sure you chose to study this one film BECAUSE it is one of the best films of all-time, or if you think it’s one of the best films of all time BECAUSE you have studied it so closely. Would you still QT’s work so vastly superior to Haneke’s The White Ribbon if you had chosen Haneke and his film for your study/thesis? I doubt it. I’ve studied these two films and filmmakers just about an equal amount- seeing their entire filmography multiple times, these two films in particular 3-4 times a piece- equal playing field. I’m not trying to change your mind, even argue here that it isn’t a masterpiece (we’ve done that in other areas)– just pose a question to you and my theory here.
@ Matt Harris. Interstellar at 3 would mean you have it ahead of both Memento and TDK. Not that high on them, or Interstellar just better.
How would you rank and grade Nolan’s films?
The question is for all the readers.
@AP Oh I’m pretty high on both of them. That said, I think Nolan’s visual filmmaking and editing virtuosity took a leap with Inception and has been on a generally higher level ever since.
1a. Dunkirk (2017) MP
1b. Inception (2010) MP
3a. Interstellar (2014) MP
3b. The Dark Knight (2008) MP
5. Memento (2000) MS/MP
6. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) MS/MP
7. The Prestige (2006) HR
8. Insomnia (2002) R/HR
9. Batman Begins (2005) R/HR
i love nolan, but wouldn’t you agree the mcconoughy crying scene was phony. different directors have different specialties, and nolan’s is science fiction large scale exploration. not emotion.
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