Tenet

Tenet ★★★★½

Eighth time in theatres (honestly lost count how many times I've seen it in general though).

First time: LIE-MAX in Vegas
Second and third time: IMAX in Irvine
Third-Seventh time: IMAX70MM at Universal Citywalk
Eighth time: 70MM at the Aero Cinema in Santa Monica

What a stunningly gorgeous print. Having seen the movie so many times, I noticed where the print may have been slightly damaged because there was a part where a couple of frames were missing. That was COOL. The flicker, the gain, the sound of the projector in the booth, the little Tyler Durden black dot. I loved all of it.

Nolan has never been in more confident command of his craft. Both this and Dunkirk display his best sensibilities as a visual storyteller who is always trying to push the narrative and film format. There is so much passion oozing from the celluloid and while his characters continue to remain underdeveloped (I know this is intentional) and exposition a bit burdensome (I know it can be required), his presentation and craftsmanship is so riveting and suave, it's hard to not be swept up by the spectacle, scope and ambition of it all. That opera siege continues to be one of the slickest opening scenes ever constructed. The blocking and rising tension is enthralling and Ludwig Göransson's score is fucking intoxicating. The heavy drums, sirens and reverse whooshes feel so heavy and gripping, evoking the dangers of inversion and the pressures of the Protagonist's missions so perfectly. Everything in Tenet just feels like a ticking time bomb (a Nolan trademark). He manages to infuse every scene with a sense of calm that's about to be ripped out and transitioned into chaos in a matter of seconds. From train-yard interrogations to reverse bungee-jumping, airplane hijacks to yacht eavesdropping, reverse car chases to dystopian inversion warfare, Tenet's action and thrills are some of Nolan's best and most taut. And ultimately, he closes a film about espionage, nuclear holocaust and twilight worlds on two lifelong friends coming to terms with their ultimate departure. With a mother reaching out to the extended arm of her son. With a Protagonist who's realized his ultimate purpose and watches from afar, swallowing the hard truth that this is a life he can't be a part of. It's a testament to the argument that Nolan can be cold is so far from reality. He may not be intimate or sappy, but there is a clear, complex pathos evoking in these frames.

Also, shoutout to the Aero, who knows what they're doing. The sound mix was pristine. Save for the few scenes that are intentionally drowned out, the dialogue was crystal clear.

And strangely, having seen this so many times, I still caught something new. Love this goddamn movie. It will always have a very special place in my heart. Still can't quite get it to 5/5 though.

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