Nith’s review published on Letterboxd:
True blue action cinema. Opens as a spy thriller riff (end of the world plot, variety of locations, even topped with a Russian bad guy lmao) & eventually veers into military action, all birthed out of a fascination for the way cameras capture time. What makes Nolan an interesting filmmaker is not his high concepts or complex storytelling but rather his core which is built into a passion for filmmaking and the ways he can push his own limits & abilities as a director. The inverted fight scene blows me away every time, just a stunningly executed fight that certainly is difficult to choreograph. A common criticism of Nolan when he gets in the zone is that he lets the plot take a backseat for the spectacle, but I think the spectacle is created from something so raw & crafted so lovingly that it can’t help but be enamouring. It’s kinetic, visceral cinema & frankly that’s my favourite kind of cinema. This is filmmaking for the love of filmmaking.
Switching out his usual collaborator Hans for Ludwig was absolutely the right call on this. The synthetic score moves with a lot more energy that flows better with a film like this. Hell even Travis Scott’s “The Plan” playing over the credits adds to the booming atmosphere of the whole thing.
John David Washington is a great lead in this, carries his nameless protagonist’s role with the type of cool & collected bravado you want from your cool spy heroes. Robert Pattinson, Dimple Kapadia, and Kenneth Branagh are all so fantastic as well. The only thing that keeps me from rating this 5 stars probably is that this would’ve been the perfect opportunity to cast someone like Scott Adkins in a Nolan joint. One of the things Nolan almost always nails is his casting but I can’t help but think Adkins could’ve potentially been a better Ives.
The movie’s loud, it’s explosive, and it’s never static, and while it may not be for everyone I think it hits all the notes of a good action film & then some. I love when prestige filmmakers make something so far on the other end it makes me think of shit like One Shot more than whatever people expect when they see a name like Christopher Nolan. Just an out & out banger of a flick, cinema is alive & kicking baby!