Tenet ★★

Fairly disappointed in some areas, fairly impressed in others. From where I stand, Interstellar and Dunkirk turned out to be the strongest films of Nolan's entire career by a country mile, so I was hoping that Tenet would follow suit, continuing that upwards trajectory when it comes to overall quality. Instead, I received a film that was something of an artistic regression for Nolan, pushing many of his weaknesses (his penchant for overwrought, exposition heavy dialogue, his over-reliance on drab, monotone visual palettes, his inability to elicit genuine human feeling) to the forefront, these shortcomings largely overshadowing the things do work (briskly edited and novel in their ingenuity, the action sequences are, admittedly, very well done). Not particularly engaging either, the movie flounders for much of its runtime, failing to sustain any real momentum or narrative drive, usually coming off as mechanical as its charisma-less Protagonist (who somehow manages to get out-staged by every other actor he's on screen with). As much as I admire the ambition (Nolan is clearly shooting for the stars when it comes to scale and ideas, constantly pushing the boundaries for what tentpole cinema can accomplish), ambition can only go so far.

As a closing note, I must admit that there is something rather resonant - perhaps a little too resonant - about the main villain being an oligarch who wants to take the world down with him. Now if only such personalities remained in the realm of fiction...

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