Sonny’s review published on Letterboxd:
so, the most common comment i’ve heard about this film is that most of it makes little sense, and i’ve heard this in both positive and negative context. this mostly interested me because i was curious if the films apparent nonsenseness came from people just simply not understanding the movie, and with a little effort it’s pretty simple to get a hang of it, or, the movie just genuinely makes no sense and nolan tried way too hard to make his movie interesting and just made it far too confusing for anyone to really get any enjoyment out of trying to figure out what the hell its even about.
i think it’s a little bit of both.
see, the movie is technically not that confusing. once you’re a little over halfway through all the time travel stuff starts to make sense, and the plot gets a lot more enjoyable, even a lot more stuff that they start to reveal later on gets pretty interesting. some of the action and scenarios were honestly really cool too.
BUT, somehow, the time travel and science behind everything somehow made far more sense than the actual fucking plot. there are so many factors that play into why it’s so confusing so i think it’s better if i just make a list:
•really weird sound mixing makes hearing the characters harder
•loud as fuck music makes hearing the characters harder
•characters are constantly wearing masks so it’s hard to read their lips (also john david washington has a pretty big beard which doesn’t help either)
•at times it feels like we are given no reason as to why a character is at a certain location, or how they got to that location
•almost every character has a really heavy accent so it can be hard to understand what they are saying sometimes.
•there are always gunshots or explosions or just really loud noises always making the characters harder to understand.
•nearly every single line in this movie is exposition, like at least 75%. missing one line of dialogue could mean your experience of the film is completely tampered, and for some of the reasons already mentioned, it happens A LOT.
there are probably a lot more factors but that sums up the most important ones i feel, and also my biggest gripe with the film.
if i’m being honest, most of the first hour is kinda really bad. disincluding the pretty cool, albeit, somewhat pointless opening scene (at least at first glance), it’s almost entirely exposition. there wasn’t really anything notable that happened, and most of the films more exciting and interesting things happen in the second half. it’s just too much set up and not enough stuff happening.
ALSO oh my god the villain is so fucking dogshit lmao. they didn’t even care, so neither will i.
it’s kinda funny too, because i think this film probably highlights nolans biggest issue (or its lack of presence in this film highlights it), and that is nolan is an awful character writer. seriously, the films lack of care for any character development is one of its better strengths. the reason i say this is while i think having mostly non interesting characters is a flaw with the film, i think nolan forcing some character back story (likely one of the characters having a deceased wife/husband, the nolan trademark) or whatever into this film would’ve completely ruined it for me. prestige is probably the last time i can remember nolan making characters that are interesting throughout most of the films runtime. i think allowing the characters (specifically washington and pattinson) to instead have conversations about their world or physics or whatever they discuss sorta allows for more depth to the film, even if it a lot of it seems like nolan at points is straight up explaining everything to the viewer.
this is clearly a film that is going to require multiple viewings for a lot of people, but with how it is being received so far, i’m pretty sure it’s gonna see itself near the bottom of a lot of people’s nolan rankings. it’s an exposition-heavy, confusing mess, albeit with some pretty cool action during the second half. probably sounds like i’m rambling a lot at points but so much of this movie is just so incoherent it’s hard to describe without just watching the movie.
edit: so i’ve thought about this movie a little longer now (like an entire 20minutes longer) and i’ll say the last hour of this movie is just so good. everything else sucks but the last hour is like some of the best work nolan has done. the rest kinda blows.