Tenet ★★★½

I’m sad Mark Fisher didn’t live to write about Travis Scott’s end credits song.

Appreciate that Nolan spent 200 million dollars of studio money on a high-concept episode of Community meant to have industry people at parties stop asking him why he doesn't use email. My gf lightly mocked me after the movie for insisting that the looping images and hectic/overlapping soundscape made this his trap rap movie.

Completes Inception’s “high-octane hauntology”, yet more interesting than that film because it’s less enamoured with rules (despite the amount of exposition). Buying into the sheer level of auteur hubris placed on this film by people hell-bent on psychoanalyzing Nolan made me somewhat expect a work of pure excess, but I was pretty fascinated in how many of the money shots weren't just crashing a jet but rather felt like a kind of mega budget Jean Vigo.

Maybe the director again finds himself struggling to quite sell the Tarkovsky-ian “fight the future” emotional stakes. Yet while I initially found the climax to be indulging some of his worst and most clumsy cross-cutting tendencies, his audacity to hinge the fate of the world on the contrast between a Call of Duty level and a battered woman dramatically throwing a bowl of raspberries came off less as dramatic flop-sweat than some sort of bozo who also kind of owns worldview.

Good vibes from the sun-draped Mediterranean locales and pulsating Cliff Martinez-like score. Get the feeling Nolan’s back-to-basics movie after this inevitably loses a ton of money will be a made for HBO Max procedural drama about the British private school system.

Ethan liked these reviews