My opinions of Christopher Nolan's earlier movies still stand. My second viewing of THE DARK KNIGHT confirmed that it was a large, strident achievement devoid of a pulse. A discomfiting aspect of Nolan's style was his tendency to look at characters like they were on a petri dish, though in my favorites of his movies - INCEPTION and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - this tendency was abated as he, seemingly grudgingly, let some light in, grappled with actual human emotion, and even, in RISES, managed to have a little fun. FUN, I ask you.
So I waited for a while to see INTERSTELLAR - I'd heard that it was too ambitious to dismiss, and wanted to see it at a time when I could see it clear of its hype, and, more crucially, clear of my own baggage. Last week's screening, in 70mm at my favorite theatre, was going to be an event regardless. But dammit, it was a movie for NOW, a direct and disquieting state of the planet address. And maybe the casting of Matthew McConaughey (a Nolan first-timer) in the lead helped unlock it, but for the first time in a Nolan film I was engaged at a human level with his characters. Some cynical remnant inside me mused that Nolan suppressed his humanity for his first seven films, knowing he'd need eight movies' worth of humanity to realize INTERSTELLAR. But mainly I'm just grateful that he made it, and that I experienced it. And more than a week later Cooper, Murph, and Brand (hell, even TARS) are still with me, lingering like none of his characters ever have.