Tenet

Tenet ★★★

"Does your head hurt yet?"
"Yes."

This really is a weird one, huh? Half of me is totally flabbergasted that something this logistically confounding was even made, let alone funded by a major studio and worked on by some of the industry's finest talents. The commitment of all involved, namely John David Washington (in an impeccable first turn as an action hero), is undeniably remarkable. I suppose I shouldn't be so shocked since this is Christopher Nolan we're talking about; a filmmaker who made his mark by turning inherently complex ideas into palatable popcorn fun. With Tenet, it's the end result of Nolan's signature flair that has the other half of me so utterly frustrated in a way I can't quite put into words.

For the first time, it seems Nolan's reach has exceeded his grasp, constructing a temporal puzzle so mind-numbingly dense that, unless the concept of inversion is all you're able to successfully process the first time you watch it, the whole thing nearly loses its thrill and becomes a huge chore. This might have been facilitated by a strong emotional hook to match the enormity of its madness, but alas, there is virtually nothing of the sort. Even the intrigue of conversations and exposition that happen between the spectacle is often drowned out to the point of unintelligibility by the most oppressive mix of sound design and musical score I have ever heard - which is even more obnoxious in IMAX.

Long story short, I've never experienced such an intense push/pull relationship with any movie of its ilk before. It's cool, but cold. Immersive, yet impenetrable. Dazzling, yet delirious. As much as I want to untangle the knots in my brain and grant my eardrums a clearer experience in a non-IMAX theater, I can't say I'm entirely compelled to revisit it anytime soon.

Not as good as Transformers: The Last Knight.

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