Tenet ★★★½

“All I have for you is a word: Tenet. It'll open the right doors, some of the wrong ones too.”

when we left the theater i thought i liked it, then i started hating it and in the two days since i’ve kinda come around on it again, even if just as solid entertainment. that whole process hinged on my regard for the Elizabeth Debicki character who i don’t want to get into here really because i know there’s people reading this trying not to encounter any kind of spoilers so i’ll leave it at this: Nolan has a bit of a problem writing women and up until this point in his other films he usually managed to circumnavigate that with his storytelling and wrenching the focus on his spectacle but this is the first time where i was truly bothered by it. hers is the only character that has any discernable emotional arc here for me so i latch onto that naturally but i now feel betrayed in my trust because man... why. i hate it here

opening rant aside i also found this, like most people it appears, incredibly difficult to follow both because it’s rather hardpressed on making an implausible concept (time) plausible through an unnecessarily complex narrative structure designed to outsmart you for 2.5 hours, and because the sound mixing is shockingly poor. i quite literally didn’t understand some of the dialogue due to it being close to inaudible (thankfully could read subtitles), and on top of that Mister Nolan wants to sell me inverted time on the basis of... what exactly? i get his schtick of “best not think about it too much”, he always does that, but then there need to be characters or something else to guide you through it not by the hand but in a compelling manner not forced by you thinking “this is gonna make sense in a bit” and it taking until the fucking final bit for that to happen. i couldn’t remember a single name besides Kat after leaving the theater

but there is that grand scale to it, action like i haven’t seen it all year and such a tight-knit spatial awareness during combat and across set pieces that i can almost forgive all the temporal confusion. almost. flawless choreographies and i was white-knuckling through some of those chases and fights like my dear life depended on it, Göransson’s score all the while blowing my eardrums out in a reverberating assault. the sheer wash of audiovisual affects is so distinctly Nolan’s in the way he negotiates the enthropy of each scene in itself, though i find the pacing of them in succession more jarring than in his other films, most of which are immaculately manipulated. but however much annoyed i was at not understanding the purpose of a lot of what was happening or how it happened, i at least got to recognize the overwhelming sensation of truly not knowing time outside of the construct that we’ve built around it. a fearful and exhilarating realization really but also a sentimental one, because what is knowing time but futile

i’ll try watch this again next week because i’m obviously curious how my new-found basic understanding of the plot and accumulated theories will affect my viewing haha. it’s a movie with many problems and i think my dude bit off a bit more than he could chew this time around but it’s an interesting experience nonetheless.

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