Tenet ★★

Tried to come up with something to say about this last night, failed, and figured I’d just let it sit until morning. In the meantime, I finished The Last of Us Part II, which ironically provided me the sort of material needed to contextualize Nolan’s total lack of storytelling ability. That game is about people, and how they change, and how their choices ripple and affect others. Is it fair to contrast a video game with a film? Probably not. But perhaps the palpable whiplash I experienced going from a muddled mess to a well-considered character study was too much to ignore. 

Tenet is not about people. In fact, it’s hard to describe (or even detect) what it’s about in the first place. Nolan’s output since Dark Knight Rises has been severely lacking in the narrative department. With Tenet, he may have revealed himself to be fundamentally disinterested in human beings. Leaving aside the indecipherable details of “time inversion” (Letterboxd doesn’t let you upload huge organizational charts and also I don’t care), Tenet forgets to attach character depth to any of its big ideas. More inexplicable is the film’s failure to appropriately explain what is happening despite ~80% of its dialogue being pure exposition. It’s a theme park ride in the dark. By the end, it doesn’t seem to care if you’ve fallen off.

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