Video: Scenes on the mind

Christopher Nolan’s “misses” remain hugely interesting.

by Richard Gould

Inception, with its turgid stretches and pages of expository dialogue, thrilled audiences with a time trip they had never been on before–and nudged me to a wider awareness of the moment in a way no other film has. INTERSTELLAR ratchets up the science and accompanying techno-babble threefold, albeit with a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) assist – pretty much no one in it has an interior moment – but you forgive Nolan, aware throughout that he’s turning the vast machinery of effects and blockbusterdom back to what’s most deeply felt and personal to us. Matthew McConaughey plays retired astronaut Cooper, lured away from his farm by mysterious forces to a secret NASA compound intent on rescuing Earth from the environmental catastrophe overtaking it. To be a part of the galactic mission means an almost certain severing from his 10-year-old-daughter and everything that’s dear to him – at best, relativity might bring him back when she’s reached his age – not to mention the Hail Mary pass that is suspended animation and passage through a gravitational wormhole. An hour on the surface of a target planet, if they reach it, would amount to seven earth years. The talk here is endless, and in the end Nolan might be a maker of scenes, not movies – but considering the permanent residence two or three of them will take up in your consciousness after watching this film, that might be the highest form of compliment.

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