Tenet ★★★½

“Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.”

Assorted Notes:

- I have yet to see Insomnia and Following, but this certainly is the messiest I’ve seen from Nolan. The precision that made Dunkirk and Inception (among others) work so well is present here only in the action sequences, and very little is afforded to the plotting.

- The plot is almost extraneous here (and nearly impossible to fully comprehend in just one viewing), but as a 2.5 hour collage of spectacle and sound, it works.

- The characters are underdeveloped and most of the dialogue falls flat (there’s one line from Debicki about 2/3 of the way through that is hilariously bad), but like I mentioned earlier, the set pieces work, and in the end, that’s all you really care about. If you’re not here to see Nolan crash a plane into a building, I don’t know why you’d even want to watch Tenet. It feels almost like Christopher Nolan’s 6 Underground in that regard. (That’s a compliment!)

- There are some missed opportunities here, primarily in the final act. Specifically, the complex editing required to make this sequence visually coherent is unfortunately not up to par, and there is absolutely no excuse for the final fight not being set at the opera house. But there’s only so much you can complain about when you have *that* exploding building shot. 

- Ludwig Göransson absolutely killed it. I almost didn’t care that I couldn’t hear large amounts of dialogue because his score is that good. Hoyte van Hoytema and Travis Scott also do excellent work. 

- Elizabeth Debicki is tall, and that is awesome.

- Despite the plot mechanics being very convoluted and, to a certain extent, useless, I will inexplicably spend the next three hours reading “Tenet Explained” articles. 

- Please do not do what I did and watch this film and I’m Thinking of Ending Things on the same day. My brain hurts. 

- I really wish I had seen this in IMAX, but even without the format, it was so incredibly exciting to be back in a theater again. It had been almost six full months since I had last stepped foot in a cinema hall, and this felt like returning home. Magical experience. 

- This “review” was a long ramble, and I really don’t know why you’d even read it when you have Tom Cruise’s shining endorsement: “Big Movie. Big Screen. Loved It.” What else is there to say?

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