Tenet ★½

I would be so much more amenable to Nolan's preference for spectacle over narrative or even spatial clarity if A) he did not so resolutely insist on lading his scripts with endless exploitation and making the subtext text and B) he didn't so regularly step on his best moments. The first half of this is a relentless series of embarrassments, all muffled dialogue and woeful attempts to convey a scrambled sense of time through quick insert shots that come off like third-rate Roeg. And by the time you get to the second half's hollow "cleverness" it's hard to care until some sincerely nifty bits in the climax. I'm critical of Nolan but don't hate the guy, and I even love some of his work (The Prestige, Insomnia, at least portions of Interstellar). But this feels like everything bad about Nolan magnified to the max, made as if to prove that the grayscale blandness of Inception's dreamworld was, comparably, not so unimaginative after all.