1. Christopher Nolan: has his haircut got away with him? Has his haircut gone to his head? This movie is the actual embodiment of his haircut and those lips pursed always like a bursting moneybag.
2. The inaudible utterances, or rather not, because so often was the dialogue that unspeakably awful that its getting drowned out by the film’s redeeming feature, the music, was more like sweet relief than an impediment. (How I longed, as soon as she’d done it, that a foghorn had obliterated Anne Hathaway’s discourse on the cosmic force of love, though nothing could have saved me from those global, rolling eyes). Still, there were occasions when clarity might have been nice – or crucial, I don’t know. When a bedridden Michael Caine was forced to convey 23 years of age through nothing but his voice, the poor old dear (hospital blanket up to his ears) resorted to a impression of Steve Coogan’s impression of a Caine appreciably aged in ‘The Trip’. The fanfare on the heels of his declaration told me there was a something afoot, at least; still, the big reveal, as it left Alfie Snr’s lips, was tantamount to an automaton’s bops and bloops and blips. Which brings me to my third point:
3. Nobody is human. Had they been given a pulse by their creators, some them might have been inhuman, though. “Come on, Randy (or what in the hell the son’s called),”underage drive my truck blind through a cornfield and risk the life of not only me but your precocious twelve-year-old sister.” And then almost of a cliff, all because of Matthew McConaughey’s soaring affection for a drone. Indeed, Matthew seems to stand in for the Nolans (the brothers co-conceived this monstrosity) not only here but anywhere the greater galactic/scientific contingencies totally sideline the concerns of living and feeling people – like, say, when he leaves it to the very last minute to break the news to his daughter that he’s travelling, oh, only into another galaxy for an unspecified amount of time. It’s telling that the only character with a sense of humour is TARS, a robot whose by-the-numbers, programmatic snarkiness comes down less to his artificial intelligence than to the Nolans’ cold and aloof one. Now maybe it’s just me, but only two of TARS’ jokes were actually comprehensible. (The stony silence of the audience, bar the self-gratified gigglings of a smattering of who I assume were IT consultants, suggests I am not alone here). How I longed for a bit of zing in this cyborg, a little, “Wormhole, huh Matthew? You’d be pretty well acquainted with all of that.” TARS was so restrained that it got so I started to think that his name was TARS because his big show-stopper was tar-and-feathering a colleague of his choice. One can almost see it with a lampshade on its head, trying to cajole an intractable Matthew to yield to its quivering brush. “It’ll be fun!”
4. Matthew Damon. None of his scenes are in the least bit necessary. Some, though, are kind of funny, especially that in which the camera zooms out to show the expanse of the tundra in which he and McConaughey tousle. What can be achieved by this? you wonder. Oh, he can break the glass of McConaughey’s helmet with the years-older glass of his own – of course. Also, Damon’s Captain Mann has got to be one of the most ineffectual villains to have ever graced a screen; surely my memory serves me incorrectly, but did he really cry all his lines? As he stumbles away from a writhing McConaughey: “They say (sniffle) that you see your kids (snuffle) for the last time when you’re about to die. Do you see your kids? Do you see them (whimper), Matthew?” When his capsule (or someone’s) blew apart like a bargain pinata, I didn’t feel any sort of actual triumph; it felt like an itch scratched, a gnat getting slapped.
5. The denouement: after all of Jessica Chastain’s braying at the camcorder and throwing equations around the NASA hub before kissing Topher Grace’s incredulous mug – not to mention McConaughey’s histrionics in the suspended Escher of his daughter’s bedroom (and has parental favouritism ever been given a wider berth in a film before?) – the ending, wherein Matthew, having traversed light-years just to get one last glimpse of his true beloved (“May my son be long dead,” he should be saying, “burnt in the fires that my brilliant daughter started!”), is such an astronomical anti-climax you almost can’t believe that you’re seeing it. “Ah, you,” Jessica says, working the latex mask Michael Caine was rudely denied, “I’ve got kids now, so hop along to Hathaway.” At which point something dawns on me – McConaughey and Hathaway are meant to be in love! The prospect of his going back to retrieve ol’ Doe-Eyes does nothing for me; I have more feels watching Matty resuscitate TARS in his heritage house. This film is an unqualified disaster and should be shot.
Actually, it’s not that bad, but it’s all about the clicks, isn’t it.