Tenet ★★★½

A lot of nonsense but also probably Nolan's best movie as a pure action director. Wide shots are well framed within empty parking garages, open highways, and open seas, movement smooth and exciting, handheld shots peppered in showcasing solid stunt work and some cool reversal effects. The score is also excellent, and the successive-heist style of plotting does play to Nolan's strengths in terms of a balanced exposition/action showcase, but the problem is that Nolan, as a writer, cannot seem to help himself from being ridiculously on-the-nose and clever on a line-to-line basis. Maybe part of it is a personal issue but I found myself cringing far more often than I'd like to whenever the characters are sitting down to hash out the time reversal logistics, and not because it's confusing (and it is, but it works) but because John David Washington says "I'm the protagonist" and his arms dealer contact says "You're a protagonist." I'm all for Nolan's self-imposed convoluted plotting, and I think this film pays off better than a lot of his earlier work with non-linear editing and twist-heavy scripting, but whenever this film is in talk-mode I can't help but feel it still carries out Nolan's worst tendencies to great effect. Still, it's entertaining and I'd much rather have this than another David S. Goyer collaboration.

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