Alexei Toliopoulos’s review published on Letterboxd:
If INCEPTION was Nolan's take on THE MATRIX, this is his take on TERMINATOR.
I've got reviews coming out for this on ABC Radio National and The Mix on ABC later this week.
The strong start of this film promises a contemporary take on le Carré with an intriguing science fiction twist. I think Nolan almost expresses some really difficult concepts in a really succinct visual way but falls short by overcomplicating everything and overloading us with exposition.
There's a lot to love here but it is my usual problems of Nolan's action films feeling emotionally reductive but still striving to be intellectual or philosophical. There's a disconnect for me.
I also feel like here, Nolan is trying to answer the criticism of his "dead wife" motivators from the past. with Debicki. He gives her agency and her own motivation. In fact, she's the only character with a clear motivation, but in the most hackneyed and dated way. It really left a bad taste in my mouth that this whole film really has to hinge on an abusive relationship.
This may be designed to be rewatched to unlock pieces to the puzzle and put them in place. On this first watch, I found my mind trying to construct theories on who is who and are they appearing in the film multiple times at different times in their life or what have you... I realized I just was not satisfied by the plot at all. Not engaged.
Show me more people bungee jumping UP a skyscraper. Loved that.