In a movie filled with A-list talent, the biggest name here is one whose face is never on screen. This is a “Christopher Nolan movie” and once again, he and his brother Jonathan have written a dark, complex, very long story that he’s made into spectacular entertainment. You need to see this in a cinema; you can’t feel its full impact any other way. Often majestic, sometimes maddening, occasionally somewhat muddled – this is still epic filmmaking. The storyline often gets confusing just before it goes fully incomprehensible. But then it keeps finding its way back to clarity and some of its explanations – of a “wormhole” in space, for example – are brilliantly simple. Nolan has done this to us before. His “Inception” also left us lost, trying to figure out if we were in reality or in a dream, and whose dream, and at what level?
Here, we wander the space-time continuum, dodging black holes and plot holes; he wraps theoretical physics and pop science in a web of imagination to create a grand adventure. The acting is as good as it needs to be; the writing is sometimes over-filled with platitudes; but the cinematography and effects are inspired and inspiring – and the music (score by Hans Zimmer) builds and soars and pounds and nearly overwhelms with its sense of majesty and power. If that music – and the amped-up effects – often makes the dialog difficult to understand, that may well be the filmmaker’s point: this isn’t a movie to be listened to — or maybe even fully understood; it’s a movie to be felt. This is a visceral experience, almost three hours of ambitious entertainment. This is a Christopher Nolan movie.