Tenet ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I’ll likely watch this again, and I want to let it brew more. I don’t think a movie can get an more Style over Substance than this. Every character is great in the movie, but I just never cared about them. Nolan usually has something to say in his movies, but he just seemed to want to have an excuse to make a bunch of cool set pieces that connect through characters moving through time. I totally dig it, I just expect more from Nolan than a high concept Fast and Furious movie. Maybe there is more there and a rewatch will reveal itself. It just lacks that kind of commentary that you get from Inception or Dark Knight or even Prestige. It’s a straight forward narrative with confusing action scenes, and hardly any emotional stakes. It seems more concerned with setting up a sequel than having an interesting though provoking first movie.

If I was drunk at a bar (remember those) I could be convinced that this movie exists just as Nolan’s way of showing the Academy that Sound Editing and Sound Mixing need to be separate categories because the editing is DOPE and so cool and blows my mind, while the sound mixing is one of the worst I’ve ever heard. I totally understand sometimes letting dialogue slip under background noise, but when it’s characters explaining why you should care about the movie, it would be wise to let the audience hear what they are saying. Thank god I watched this at home with subtitles on.

Ludwig Goransson goes off, he brings that style that I’ve fallen in love with in Mandalorian here. The epic grand scale we expect from a Nolan movie, while some of those hip hop beats thrown in to keep up the high pace intensity. It allows the movie to move slow visually to allow the audience to know what’s going on while keeping your heart pounding like the action is moving twice as fast as it really is.

Of course the action feels so much more visceral when you can so clearly tell everything is practical. The simplest of jumps you feel so much more risk than in most blockbusters because that car is real, that plane is real. 

I think there is a great movie here. And it’s funny because 2:30 feels too long, yet I almost wish this was a 4 hour epic that had room to breathe. Let me know these characters and the world, so I truly understand and I truly care about how they interact with one another. The audience is just kind of thrust into a confusing situation with little explanation, and while it’s one of those “oh cool we as an audience are experiencing everything just like the protagonist is” moments, it quickly devolves into John David Washington knowing exactly how everything works and is in the audience being left behind.

I feel like I’m being negative on this movie more than I felt while watching it. I still really enjoyed it and LOVED the cast. Kenneth Branagh’s villain is truly menacing. Robert Pattinson chews every scene he’s in and has great chemistry with the James Bond type of John David Washington. Even Himesh Patel in his scenes is a blast.

Overall I enjoy my time with it and can’t wait to watch it again to see if I missed anything, I’m sure that final action scene will still make absolutely no sense as it just goes from forward to backward time all Willy Nilly, while both sides perceive their time as being forward. Nothing hard about filming that to make sense!

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