This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
preisman’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
.llehstun a ni teneT .yltnaillirb ti mlif ,yrots eht tegrof ,tpecnoc a htiw tratS
.dab erom dna ,doog eroM .erom si ereht ,tuB
.noitca eht dnuora tliub saw tolp eht ekil tlef syawla ti tub ,skrow ti trap tsom eht roF .stsieh dna stes noitca dliub ot yaw nuf a si egatnavda ruoy ot sdrawkcab ti gniyalp ,emit gnisU .hctaw elgnis a retfa neve egduj eb dluohs mlif a tub ,noinipo siht evorpmi lliw sgniweiv erom ,ebyaM .esnes edam yllaer ti fi gniksa tuohtiw ytterp kool dluow tahw dna ,noisufnoc eht ,noitca eht fo erom thguoht naloN ,ffo-wohs ot syaw dniF .yaw euqinu dna wen a ni emit gnidneb ,tpecnoc eht ,ffo tsriF
.ti tegrof dias I erus ytterp ma I ?yrots ehT
.krow ti ekam yllaer ot gnitirw eht ton tub ,aedi na gnivah fo esac rehtona si tI .mlif nmad elohw siht ni eveileb ot gniht tsedrah eht si tahT .flesmih tpecxe ,ti swonk enoyreve ,egrahc ni si eH .bulC thgiF morf rotarraN eht si tsinogatorP ehT
.tsac a fo lleh a rehtegot stup eh ;esle eno on naht retteb seod naloN gniht enO !!!esaelp ,meht fo eroM !ssadab yek-wol erew letaP dna nosnhoJ-rolyaT .tuohguorht dilos erew hganarB dna ikcibeD .taerg saw eh ,hguoht ,elohw a sA .gniht dab a si noitcartsid yna dnA .dad sih raeh tub pleh ton t'ndluoc I ,eugolaid noitisopxe fo stnuoma egral eht gnirud dnA .stib noitca eht ni taerg saw notgnihsaW .suoiralih ,gnimrahc ,taerg saw nosnittaP .gnitirw eht ton...meht lla si ti tub dne eht sdrawot esnes sekam ti dnA !sraey rof rehto hcae wenk yeht ekil tlef yrtsimehc riehT .nosnittaP dna notgnihsaW ;skrow taht sgniht fo gnikaepS
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.ees ot nuf saw ti dna mlif eht ni retal deticxe yllaer tog ehS .siht no pu kcip ton did efiw ym sa siht noitnem I .kcab gnimoc ot drawrof gnikool saw I .dootsrednusim ro ,eil a eb dluoc ees ew gnihtynA .enecs siht ot kcab gnimoc eb dluow ew dna ,notgnihsaW saw ti gnikniht em dah tuo gnikaerf nosnittaP .ysae neeb evah ton dluoc ti tub ,ekam ot koot ti tahw erus toN .taerg saw kcab dna drawrof gnivom thgif eno no eno a teg ew dna elitsnrut eht fo tuo semoc "yug" eht nehw dnA .wonk ew naht regnol siht ta neeb evah yeht aedi eht sdda tsuj rehtegot dekrow nosnittaP dna notgnihsaW yaw eht ,edisni ecnO .ti did yllautca eh ,ti did hctib a fo nos yzarc ,tnemom kraP cissaruJ ,mulbdloG ffeJ a fo dniK .gnihgual saw I ,emit emas eht ta dnA .gnidliub eht otni sehsarc nalp eht nehw ewa ni llits saw I ,gnihton sekaf naloN gniwonK .yoj erup saw desufnoc yletulosba elpoep gnivael esahc & thgif eht neht dna ,htaerb rieht gnidloh ,dlog gnipmud ,nalp a gnilaets fo aedi ehT .htiw pu emoc sah naloN stsieh ynnuf dna gniniatretne tsom eht fo eno saw tes noitca dnoces ehT
.rekcohS .dlot erew ew naht erom swonk nosnittaP dnA .sliaf eh llits ,tuB .enilemit detrevni eht fo kool tsrif ruo ,gnitseretni etiuq saw ,esahc noisrevni dna ,laever gniusne eht dna pirt a saw dne rehto eht gnieeS .tihs sa tsol osla si tsinogatorP eht esuaceb skrow ti tub ,mlif eht fo tcepsa gnisufnoc tsom eht saw noitagorretni gniwollof ehT .gniliaf tsinogatorP eht teg ew dnA .dliw og sgniht seod rotaS htiw noitcaretni detrevni eht dna ,trap esahc eht gnirud ylnO .ysae oot tib a dna ,yzarc tib a saw yawhgih eht no ecalp gnikat tsieh txen ehT
.sseug I ,sliated eht no sucof t'noD ?nug sih erif eh did yhW .egatnavda sih ot krow gnihtyreve gnikam yllanif tsinogatorP eht gniees dna ,krow gnihtyreve ekam ot senecs eht dniheb gnikrow nosnittaP ,flesmih sthgif notgnihsaW .rehtegot emoc ot strats gnihtyreve dna tropeerF ot kcaB
.mlif siht fo dne eht devol yllaer I .enecs lanif rieht deyojne yllaer I .tnemitnes gnivol ,lufyoj a dah ti tub ,erom tih seod ti retal siht sezilaer tsinogatorP ehT nehW .tcapmi emos evah tca cioreh sih edam mlif eht fo trats eht morf eno eht saw eh gniknihT .nosnittaP fo snoicipsus ym demrifnoc yehT .taerg era ereh stniop yeK .senecs dna smlif rehto ynam os ekil efil on ,ycnarbiv on htiw ,gnittes ylgu na saw ti tub ,llew tohs saw ti ,eruS .eruliaf a si siht ,naloN roF .mlif eht pu parw ot stnemom yek wef a rof esion dnuorgkcab tsuj lla saw tI .noitca dnalb htiw gnittes dnalb ehT .omorp ytuD fo llaC a ekil tlef tI .nwodtel latot a saw ,elanif eht ,tes noitca tsal ehT
See. just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
For those of you who stuck around.
Start with a concept, forget the story, film it brilliantly. Tenet in a nutshell.
But, there is more. More good, and more bad.
First off, the concept, bending time in a new and unique way. Find ways to show-off, Nolan thought more of the action, the confusion, and what would look pretty without asking if it really made sense. Maybe, more viewings will improve this opinion, but a film should be judge even after a single watch. Using time, playing it backwards to your advantage is a fun way to build action sets and heists. For the most part it works, but it always felt like the plot was built around the action.
The story? I am pretty sure I said forget it.
The Protagonist is the Narrator from Fight Club. He is in charge, everyone knows it, except himself. That is the hardest thing to believe in this whole damn film. It is another case of having an idea, but not the writing to really make it work.
Speaking of things that works; Washington and Pattinson. Their chemistry felt like they knew each other for years! And it makes sense towards the end but it is all them...not the writing. Pattinson was great, charming, hilarious. Washington was great in the action bits. And during the large amounts of exposition dialogue, I couldn't not help but hear his dad. And any distraction is a bad thing. As a whole, though, he was great. Debicki and Branagh were solid throughout. Taylor-Johnson and Patel were low-key badass! More of them, please!!! One thing Nolan does better than no one else; he puts together a hell of a cast.
Alright, the action. Mainly, the action scenes. That opening shot was intense. Maybe, the best Nolan opening, and I believe it. First off, it was vibrant both visually and the sound. The movement of the terrorists and swat teams were at a different level from anything seen in any film. Every movement was deliberate and without delay. They acted, moved and communicated on instinct. The precision of the action was brilliant. Side note about the plot and ending. It felt to me Pattinson was there watching over him, protecting him. When they meet later and how he always knew enough had me thinking he was always involved. Just a feeling, but the end was a nice treat to pull everything back together.
The second action set was one of the most entertaining and funny heists Nolan has come up with. The idea of stealing a plan, dumping gold, holding their breath, and then the fight & chase leaving people absolutely confused was pure joy. Knowing Nolan fakes nothing, I was still in awe when the plan crashes into the building. And at the same time, I was laughing. Kind of a Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park moment, crazy son of a bitch did it, he actually did it. Once inside, the way Washington and Pattinson worked together just adds the idea they have been at this longer than we know. And when the "guy" comes out of the turnstile and we get a one on one fight moving forward and back was great. Not sure what it took to make, but it could not have been easy. Pattinson freaking out had me thinking it was Washington, and we would be coming back to this scene. Anything we see could be a lie, or misunderstood. I was looking forward to coming back. I mention this as my wife did not pick up on this. She got really excited later in the film and it was fun to see.
The next heist taking place on the highway was a bit crazy, and a bit too easy. Only during the chase part, and the inverted interaction with Sator does things go wild. And we get the Protagonist failing. The following interrogation was the most confusing aspect of the film, but it works because the Protagonist is also lost as shit. Seeing the other end was a trip and the ensuing reveal, and inversion chase, was quite interesting, our first look of the inverted timeline. But, still he fails. And Pattinson knows more than we were told. Shocker.
Back to Freeport and everything starts to come together. Washington fights himself, Pattinson working behind the scenes to make everything work, and seeing the Protagonist finally making everything work to his advantage. Why did he fire his gun? Don't focus on the details, I guess.
The last action set, the finale, was a total letdown. It felt like a Call of Duty promo. The bland setting with bland action. It was all just background noise for a few key moments to wrap up the film. For Nolan, this is a failure. Sure, it was shot well, but it was an ugly setting, with no vibrancy, no life like so many other films and scenes. Key points here are great. They confirmed my suspicions of Pattinson. Thinking he was the one from the start of the film made his heroic act have some impact. When The Protagonist realizes this later it does hit more, but it had a joyful, loving sentiment. I really enjoyed their final scene. I really loved the end of this film.