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Like many other things in life, cinematography is an art form, like a painting, except with more dimension in its presentation. When you present an event, you can either present it artistically via realism, or by theatrical exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis through visual impression, again, similar to a painting. Of course, there’s a sleazy way to do it, and a systematic way to do it
An example of sleazy would be most action scenes from Transformers. I say most because I have to give credit where credit is due. Systematically complex or artistic cinematography would be scenes found in the latest Godzilla, or more recently, in Christopher Nolan’s space epic-odyssey, Interstellar. Some other popular examples are the exaggerated and very animated depiction of violence in movies like 300, Sin City, and, from what little clips I saw, Kill Bill (which I still need to finish watching completely).
This is where Interstellar comes in. Unlike those examples where cinematography may have been visually great or just good n certain parts, Interstellar not only maintains consistent quality throughout, but does so with a script that seems insistent on choking you with your own tears, an amazing performance by the main cast, a script that perfectly blends everything together towards the end all while flowing beautifully like a masterfully composed musical sheet written by legends of the past, and a plot concept so ambitious and imaginative that it surpasses the one imposed by Inception.
I understand that critics have mixed reviews on this movie thus far, but having read many of them and watched the movie last night, I must say this is another one of those cases where something is so grand that it ends up being the target of reviewers’ pretentious intentions. Most of the complaints stem from the presumption that we as humans already know everything there is to know about our known Universe and that no director should ever dare be imaginative and use theoretical physics to support an obviously fantasy-intended pseudo-science. God forbid if a writer or director creates their own Universe with it’s own physical laws. I wasn’t aware that we were suppose to look towards movies for new and factual scientific discoveries. They were all fine with Inception but the moment something like space, which involves fields of science that apparently tickle the pretentious children inside many wannabe-intellectuals out there, suddenly it’s unacceptable. I swear it’s as if critics are all quantum physicists in disguise now days and sci-fi movies are all meant to be shown on The Discovery Channel.
But, let’s not focus on the negatives. Interstellar does not try to confuse the audience, nor does it try to be too complex in it’s storyline. What makes it genius to me is how well every single aspect of the movie, plot, performance, story, storytelling, cinematography, conveyance, and it’s many literary devices, all fit perfectly together in a truly flawless manner. Really, I could not find any real flaws in the movie. The only reason I would objectively give it a 9.7 and not a perfect 10 is because a 10 implies absolute perfection, and not every single actor performed superbly. There were times when some of the actors were just okay.
One of the points that I can actually say one could argue for in lowering it’s score that some critics made were some of the scenes had Hans Zimmer’s musical pieces a tad bit too loud that it somewhat drowned out some of the dialogue. I don’t see how that alone can lower the movie’s score to anywhere near a 60 or 70 as shown in Rotten Tomatoes. IMDB’s score is actually a lot closer, at it’s current 9.1
About 2 hours into the movie I remember thinking to myself, “How can a movie flow this perfectly without losing a step?” and feared that it might fall short of it’s perfection towards the end. Boy was I wrong. The third hour (yes the movie is 3 hours long) finishes strongly and poetically fits every piece together with maturity, class, and elegance.
Matthew McConaughey has always been a great actor, especially in his recent performances, but he takes himself another notch as the main character in Interstellar. He was painfully convincing in every emotional scene throughout the 3 hour movie. Anne Hathaway also delivered a noticeable upgrade in her already good acting ability. Of course, Matt Damon and Michael Caine had their moments to show their usual, but their characters were not ones that had too much screen time.
I have been going to the theaters very frequently over the past couple years and I think I’ve watched over 20 movies just this past year alone. I must say, I have not seen an audience sit so silently and wreak with such an air of focus and tension as the one I was in the theaters with last night. I felt many people holding back tears throughout several scenes of the movie, and some, could not hold back.
Once the credits rolled, the audience started applauding in a way that seemed very different from the usual applause you sometimes experience at the movie theater. It was as if they were applauding a masterpiece performance by a classical composer at a prestigious venue. As everyone left the theater room, the energy levels of the audience remained low and calm. I suspect due to many still being in speechless awe or stuck in a numbing emotional state, or both.