Yay for Science… and narrative. A Spoiler -free Review Of Interstellar

1506817_10152805401793116_1546128127320617774_nIt was 2005 I think. I entered a theatre to see a superhero film. I expected a fun ride. A lot of thrills, great special effects, and a flimsy plot. I got all except the last. The film was batman begins, and the plot was exquisitely crafted, complex, and it made sense even though it was completely bonkers. I realized I needed to know this director better, and I have now watched every film made by him. Memento, Insomnia, Prestige & Inception are all masterpieces.

Christopher Nolan has a particular style. For starters, he thinks his audience is intelligent. He doesn’t feel the need to dumb down the story just so that the general public will understand. With this in mind, he creates visually rich, exquisitely penned worlds with a complicated plot. Interstellar is all that: in space.
Interstellar is a story set in a future where the earth is running out of food. Where nothing is as good as it once was, and the whole future of humanity is at stake. Some scientists believe they have figured out a way to travel outside our solar system and look for new worlds. This is the story of these scientists, the explorers who go out, and the people they leave behind.
10420330_10152805401858116_1039334215262476294_nInterstellar is probably Nolan’s most overtly emotional film. It is also his least “see how clever that was” film. But it is tough in another way: Physics. The film is steeped in the lore of physics. Multiple dimensions, space-time continuum, Gravity v/s time….. These terms are thrown about freely. And they are explained, but just once. If you were concentrating on your popcorn at the time, tough luck. You’ll still enjoy the film, I think, but lose some nuance on the way.

And there is a lot to enjoy here. The plot, of course. But also the acting: Matthew McConaughey has emerged as the most reliable performer, both in films and on TV. But the rest of the cast is great as well, both the adult and the child actors. The emotional depth of the film owes a lot to the actors remaining true to their characters. Even the artificial intelligence pitches in to make the experience both realistic and fantastical.
But if all fails, watch it for the spectacle. The decaying world is as breathtaking as it is heartbreaking. The14026_10152805401973116_768845643381864090_n technology and equipment is both advanced and run-down at the same time. And above all, it is a treat to see space on the large screen. To see physics unfolding in front of your eyes. To make real the glories that we imagine, but have never seen visualized so vividly.

This is the sort of film that children watch and grow up to be scientists. This is the sort of film that makes me wish I was a physicist. This is the sort of film I want the film makers of India to watch and aspire for. It’s possible to be completely original, critically acclaimed as well as a box office success.
This is what I love Nolan’s films for. A lot of thrills, great special effects, and a complex, engaging plot. A classic by Mr Nolan. Another one.


Poor Mr Tarantino – A Review Of Kill Dil

480There is a new kid on the block in Bollywood. Quentin Tarantino. Naam to suna hi hoga. Okay he’s no longer a kid, not from Bollywood and not so new. Because of course we have been copying his films for a long time. (remember Kaante?) but the latest thing is to copy his style. People at the periphery or outside of law, spouting spunky dialogues, with sexy music and awesome action. Basically portraying badass dudes, with some good looking women at the periphery. 

And there I just described Kill Dil. Or at least what it was aspiring to be. But does it make it? It’s a story of two orphans “rescued” by a Don who later puts them to work as hit-men. They look good, do awesome stuff and live reasonably well. Until Love.

Govinda-in-Kill-DilThe best thing about the movie is Govinda. He just shows that he’s a rockstar. He just chews up dialogues and throw it with either honey, lemon or lemon coated honey. He makes you want to throw some “chillar” at screen. Then there’s a heroine who never gets any character traits. And lastly we have the two heroes. They are ernest for sure. They kill, they sing, they dance and they fool around. Sometimes all at the same time. One falls in love and film decides to take a patli galli detour from Edgy street to Melodrama Highway, a road devoid of any twists.

This film is so predictable that the ending was a surprise only because there was no surprise. It’s banal, inconsequential and frankly boring by the end. It’s so without any twist that it’s not Tarantino at all, really.

Because the thing about Tarantino is very very good writing. That guy changed a passage from Bible to make it sound cool. This slow train along well trodden path would not cross the desk of his third assistant. The film has its moments, mainly in the first half when showing the guys from street meeting a bunch of upper class people. There the dialogue is interesting and the story still holds some promise. Alas, that was shattered.

When the only good thing you can say about the plot of a film is to thank the Lord for not making it a love triangle, someone has lost the plot. No amount of male bonding, clever dialogue or star power can make that into a Tarantino film.

PS: I know comparing to Tarantino is unfair, but when you name your film after Kill Bill, you’re asking for it.