Billy Soistmann’s review published on Letterboxd:
Back to the movies!! I absolutely had to see this in a theater so I splurged on One of Cinemark’s private watch parties where you have the screen to yourself. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to see a movie safely while supporting theaters. No spoilers below but DON’T WATCH THE SECOND OR THIRD TRAILERS.
Anyway, my reaction of course is biased after a six-month hiatus from seeing anything on the big screen. And this film deserves to be seen big and loud. It’s an action film from start to finish–even more than Inception Nolan here is trying to create spectacle. There’s no question in my mind that he is not trying to make another Memento or The Prestige.
This movie is also far removed from Primer, which is so focused on the science of its world. Here, the sci-fi element is quickly established and then we are encouraged not to think about it but instead enjoy the ride.
I believe the result is a wonderfully entertaining and endlessly rewatchable spy film that keep your brain engaged trying to keep up with the action. And the set pieces are all fantastic, pushing the boundaries of what movies can do with a massive budget and very little CGI.
There’s a realism that comes from the film cinematography and shooting at real locations that just cannot be matched. The performances are also great all-around, with Debicki standing out in my mind as one of Nolan’s only engaging female characters. Washington lends pathos to what could have been a dull protagonist and Pattinson is charming as ever. Branagh’s villain felt a bit like a caricature to me in the writing but he made him scary to watch.
I’d love to rewatch it again today but, alas, will wait for home video and continue staying home.