Ross Taylor’s review published on Letterboxd:
I definitely need to see this again to properly digest it, and as such my opinion might change. But this is my initial gut reaction.
As a cinematic experience, it’s brilliant. The action sequences are frequently breathtaking, and the way the movement is handled in those fight sequences was astounding. It’s exhilarating watching the action unfold, and there were some genuinely brutal moments that made me wince.
Narratively, oh boy there’s a lot going on, and I’m not even going to pretend and say I understood it. The first hour/90 minutes of this film left me so perplexed that I was just going along for the ride. And at this point I was a bit worried that it would be nothing but style over substance.
But there’s a moment in that final hour where something clicked for me, and I literally did an audible “OHHHH” when it did. That’s not to say I then fully understood it, because I didn’t. Hell, I think I barely understand it. But that moment made me realise that it didn’t really matter.
Now the obvious comparison to this is Inception, most notably because of the way it plays with time. But what this lacks is the real emotional drive and core that makes Nolan’s dream heist thriller so perfect. But does this need it? Not necessarily, especially if you think of it more of a spy movie thriller. But it also means that I didn’t find it as powerful.
There are also some issues that did bother me slightly. One is some of the editing - particularly in the more conversational sequences. From characters appearing a bit choppy, and other bits of the narrative feeling rushed, it did wobble at times. There’s also a plot point in the final act that doesn’t really go anywhere and again added to my confusion. There’s also a massive fundamental flaw which I can’t go into because, you know, spoilers.
But was I entertained? Fuck yeah! Washington is great as the lead, and I think he has an incredibly bright future in Hollywood. And the supporting players are great too.
But I think the reason why this stands up for me is because I wanted to see it again, immediately. I want to go back through it with the context and see how it compares. Will I enjoy it as much then? Maybe. Maybe not. But there’s no doubting that Nolan is still such an ambitious filmmaker, and I’m glad that movies as original as this can still get made.