Tenet ★★½

I admire its thematic ambitions to a certain extent (even if the physics here are a bit clumsy to say the least) but everything is so lifeless that it’s impossible for me to really connect to. The elliptical narrative feels lazy rather than mysterious and the dramatic austerity is laughable rather than only inert - since the entire procedure is so mechanical and boneless, the film’s narrative and dramatic ineptitude just sinks it into a state of inconsistent nothingness that flows by without any punch to it whatsoever. Each character’s intentions and the stakes that sustain them are so arbitrary and borderline nonsensical that one just has to accept them to keep the film going. This film never catches its breath and it never seems to exhale, it only keeps contriving its half baked ideas in a constant asphyxiating state filled with vacuum.

Still, the complete absence of sustenance here gives the film an unexpected hangout vibe where the engineering of it and the ingenious mechanics that keep it functioning somehow have their own flavor to it, and in that sense it is able to have some impact. For that reason mainly and also because it seems like Nolan has finally accepted himself as who he is, a cold misanthrope with very little interest in humanity and a lot of interest in structural play of inanimate concepts, this might be my favorite of his movies. It might also be the first time in his filmography where I enjoyed his excessive didacticism, since it actually feels important here for our comprehension of the film for a change (and what is superfluous just gets sucked into a void of unimportance such as the environment surrounding the dialogue, so it’s less enervating than usual). This feels like a very unique film in cinema’s history, for better and for worse.

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