Tenet ★★★★

Can't wait for Nolan's ambient drone album, if he continues stripping the narrative experience and building the aural one.

A couple weeks ago, I complained about how Nolan treats people as objects in Memento, as a result of the dissonance between his control and their feelings. What I didn't mention then is that this isn't inherently a bad thing, and I think in his later movies Nolan's been developing a poetics of objects, usually helped by a character who takes on a control role in the narrative, on level with Nolan, but not always. The difference with Memento being that the people in the later movies know they're objects as part of an overriding fatalism and social structure and find movement within, around, and against that condition in time. Which is all to say that, as many have said, Tenet is even more bare than usual, close, like Dunkirk, only to those poetics. (What people failed to mention is that in this bareness are, simultaneously, the most lavish, rich exteriors.) As such, it's at its best whenever no one's talking and knowing this, the movie fits most conversations into thirty-second pauses. I never know how his movies will hold up on a second viewing, but the first was thrilling enough. It is hard to let go of the desire to know (I wish more dialogue was indecipherable). This might be the dumbest of Nolan's recent work, but I'll take cinema of attractions roller coaster thrills over puzzle narrative mastery any day.

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