esos’s review published on Letterboxd:
Nolan really said: "i'm giving y'all headaches" didn't he.
Anyway, this was exactly what one would expect from a film that was promoted as the film that would save cinema... The concept is interesting and the ambition isn't missing but Nolan's conceited and self-important approach strips all the fun from the premise. Even the few moments of humor fall completely flat. He seems to take pleasure into over-complicating the plot to try and make the film appear smarter and more profound than it actually is.
Nolan tries to pack as much action and spectacle as possible in 2 hours and 30 minutes but doesn't bother with character development. Instead, he presents us a bunch of lifeless characters that completely lack any kind of humanity. In one of the most cringe-worthy moments a teary-eyed Elizabeth Debicki utters : " I can't fight, just beg!" and, honestly that just perfectly encapsulates just how incapable Nolan is to write a good female role. Pattinson and Washington also both do their best but they can't make these superficial characters any interesting, especially with the clichéd lines and forced dialogue they have to work with.
The result is a film that's almost impossible to connect with or care for and an experience that's surprisingly passive considering how much action is packed in the film. I couldn't help but feel like the whole story only exists in service of the film's technical aspects (when it should be the other way around). The techs and crafts tend to overshadow the plot itself and the sound is so unnecessary loud and excessive all the time that it just ends up being distracting.
In short, sorry film bros, but Nolan didn't save cinema with this one.