Rafael "Parker!!" Jovine’s review published on Letterboxd:
Disclaimer: As my dear and beloved country Dominican Republic is under a curfew, even if they wanted to, theaters can't open their doors and chances are they do til next year. So against my better judgement, this review is for a cam version circling online.
Look, I am not gonna lie, during the first act as we were explaining most of the basic concepts of the whole time inversion themes, I genuinely thought I was going to have a stroke... or at least an aneurysm. I remembered everyone calling Inception and Interstellar, and everyone calling them Nolan's most dense work, and when I watched them I didn't think they were that difficult to understand nor that dense, so I genuinely thought this was the case... I was wrong.
That being said, I'm pleased to say the attempt against my mental health worked as it seems I get at least the plot and many of the mechanism alright. Of course I might have to give it a watch, just to see how does this movie plays out from an enjoyment perspective. That's not to say I didn't have fun, cause I did, but something tells me I will have more seeing a less cam-y version of the movie at an actual theater. And with better subtitles, because my Lord, I got me some s**tty ones (literally there was a scene where someone was talking about "us", as in the pronoun, and whoever translated wrote "United States").
Anyways, I have a few lot to say, so I'll split in sections for those just seeking to hear my thoughts on a specific area:
Now, enough of the rambling and lets talk about what I get to appreciate, let me say the score by Ludwig Göransson was indeed bombastic and it added a lot to the story, injecting the umf and energy a scene needed. I get the comparisons with Zimmer, but personally, it standed on its own. I was talking with my ole' LB pal here, Nick, and I was telling him how the score didn't work for me when listening like on its own. In that regard, I sustain my thoughts that this is a very contextual body of work where if you are missing the context (say the movie), the music doesn't hold that well. At least in my opinion.
Story wise, I have to echo what many have said. We all been hearing how Nolan been hoping to make a Bond film, and well, the man got tired of waiting and come with its own. I also found kinda interesting (and wonder if it was intentional), how they were also discussions of having a Black Bond, and here we are, having Washington as the lead basically playing the 007 character with a questionable identity and all.
Like I mentioned the concepts and story are pretty dense and many people will immediately check off, but once you get to understand everything, this becomes just a really good heist/spy thriller. There's the scope and I love how just like inversion, the way the script is structured many things that seems confusing pays off by the end. Just like the film, the script works both forward and backwards and there comes a time where they both meet at the middle point.
The Protagonist (s)
One thing that also started popping on my mind as I was watching the film in terms of Robert's character and performance was how many praised his work, yet like in The Rover he doesn't have too much of a flashy role. That's not to say I didn't like him, but I see more of him as a great performer in The Batman trailer than here. I found that funny.
But yeah, he was great. John David Washington it ain't Scott Eastwood, so that's a good thing. But seriously, he did a great performer. We see him throwing some great punches in some of the best combat scenes in a Nolan film (which is not saying that much) and doing his best while playing this egnimatic character. Also Kenneth was fun to watch as he himself travelled in time and hammer every scene as a Bond villain spun off a Roger Moore era, dude was campy and quirky and kinda over-the-top in a very subdue way. That was fun!
The Debicki's Brief
Look, I am not in any way or form justify or defend Nolan's lacks of skills at writing woman's character. I sorta understand him because as a screenwriter myself, I find that a challenging task. Dunno, many Chris here never had a good luck with the ladies and he was a lonely man and all his friends were male and the fact he has a wife is a sheer amount of luck. I don't know. But yeah, he could certainly need some help in that department.
Now to a controversy that may get me into trouble at the distant places of Poland: I believe Debicki is not the nail on the coffin, but rather an improvement.
Listen up, I am saying this not from an all female-power/Thelma and Louise/Alien perspective; but from a James Bond perspective. Seeing it that way, its beyond clear Kat was meant to be like the Bond Girl. Seeing it that way, sure, she wasn't like the most kickass and perfect example of the modern woman today or anything, but I don't think she was the worst. She was serviceable, and she worked beyond being a simple device as Marion or Ellen on Inception, for example. She had an arc, she served a purpose I will not spoiled, but hey, by the end she saved the world. Could she be more part of the action? Definitely! But she wasn't that type of "Bond Girl." If you really wanna see a damsel in distress in modern cinema go watch Annabelle on The Mummy with Tom Cruise.
All in all, I could go on the cinematography but I simply couldn't appreciate any of that because of the copy I had on cam and all, but from what I could appreciate (and I believe thats the right word right now), this is a really good movie from Nolan. Far from being his best, probably above Insomnia and maaaaaaybe The Dark Knight Rises, but I still prefer Inception.