“The names of the cerros and the sierras and the deserts exist only on maps. We name them that we do not lose our way. Yet it was because the way was lost to us already that we have made those names. The world cannot be lost. We are the ones. And it is because these names and these coordinates are our own naming that they cannot save us. They cannot find for us the way again.”
—Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
Once you key into the jagged fission of the film’s rhythms, it becomes a thriller, not biographical but existential, about the messy unknowability of humans and our dreadfucked death drive. Bombs and creation and fucking and murder, the horrible ecstasy of Last Things.
Still, Nolan has yet to find a story he couldn’t saddle with an exposition overload, and the film ironically takes the shape of the bomb it dreads—an intense gathering of materials that reaches critical mass at its center, and then eventually just diffuses into char and smoke.