Tenet ★★★

On my second watch, despite knowing what was worth paying attention to and feeling like I had a better grasp on what was happening scene to scene, I still felt incredible frustration at Nolan’s storytelling. It’s muddled for reasons I can’t even find comprehendible. 

I was also surprised how grating I found the score this time around. It didn’t bother me in theaters (don’t worry, I was the only person in the theater) probably because I was so distracted figuring out the story. But this time, it felt bombastic and overbearing. 

And mostly I end the film feeling it’s an awful lot of mental gymnastics for a whole lot of emptiness. There’s no emotional through lines (I find the Debicki plotline stagnant and preposterous how many times Washington risks THE FATE OF THE WORLD for her safety) and seemingly no greater ideas at play. It’s an exercise for Nolan, devoid of themes, pure puzzle-making, and not really a lot else. The actors are given their one-note to play, the action is surprisingly just-okay, and the sound mix remains awful. 

I wish I liked this more. I’d hoped the rewatch would warm me to it, but rather it just confirmed my initial feelings: a needlessly convoluted script that buries a cool concept in jargon, lacking the style or cool of a Bond, and frustrates me too much to get swept up in the winning cast and occasionally cool sequence.