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TENET (Nolan)

Totenkindly

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‘Tenet’ Divides Critics: Nolan’s Latest Called a ‘Monumental Spectacle’ and ‘Head-Scratching’ Dud

So... along with all the controversy regarding when and where to release this hugely expensive film, I'm seeing critical assessments weighing in on the positive and negative poles.

I wouldn't be surprised if he developed this huge blockbuster film based on his success in "Inception" (which still boggles me, I still don't get why it made such a splash in the GENERAL audience; I totally understand why it succeeded with Nolan's standard audience + cerebral sorts), but for whatever reason it's too "Nolan" of a film and so there is a cultural course correction along with COVID reluctance to bring this in way under expectation.

How many of the general audience loved Nolan's films enough to go to the theater to watch Memento? Or Insomnia? Or The Prestige? Much smaller box offices. Nolan has become a "blockbuster" film director, but is he really? Or did he just get fortunate?

I mean, its nothing to sneeze at, but he made about $800m at box office for Inception, $700 for Interstellar, and $500 million for Dunkirk. (Early in there, he did clear a billion for The Dark Knight Rises, but -- it's the finale of a film trilogy, it's a superhero film, the second film is considered to be the best batman film ever made generally and won an acting Oscar, so everyone was gonna see the final film, and the reviews on the final film took a hit.)

It's not clear whether spending $400 million to finance this original thriller film was going to pay off or appeal across the general market, esp if Nolan makes a film that is more "Nolan" than accessible to broadest audience. Also, I think along with any "heady logic" of Inception, I know one of the reasons I rewatch it is because of (1) Cobb's loss + his journey to recover his children and (2) Fisher's trying to reconcile with the death of this father. That latter bit is the core of the film. (The best Nolan stuff does this. The Prestige has cool heady stuff in it but it's really about a bitter one-upmanship of two rival magicians centered on a severe loss, plus a reuniting between magician and child. Insomnia is about a cop trapped between his career and his culpability/guilt regarding the fate of a coworker. Interstellar has some interesting science stuff but it's really about the relationship between Cooper and his daughter Murph. And so on.)

I guess we shall see.
 

Totenkindly

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'Tenet' is super slick and ambitious but too confusing to be a great movie
Review: 'Tenet' has arrived. But is it spectacular enough to lure you back to movie theaters?

I guess the question is, will the mental/heady experience be enough, is there any heart to the film at all, and/or is it adequate to make it enjoyable? I mean, people consider "Primer" to be too confusing and complex to be great, but it can be interesting/enjoyable if you're in the mood for that kind of experience.

This was a film I'd wanted to see in the theater, but that decision might have been taken out of my hands regardless. Not sure any theaters are open here and there's nothing scheduled for early September. I would be totally at internal war anyway -- I really wanted the theater experience, but I don't want my health at risk needlessly. If everyone wore their masks in the theater, that would be one thing; however, because theaters run off concessions, you can rest assured everyone will have their masks off while munching on popcorn and candy and drinking soda.

The whole thing is ending up being a massive dud in terms of a rollout.
 

Totenkindly

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I found out a few days ago Regal was going to open and had this film up for showing, so I evaluated the risks involved and decided to chance it. I went to the earliest showing in the day (5:30pm), in the smallest room of the complex, and sat way over against a side wall, so I was a good 10' away from any other viewers. (I also figured the room would be pretty empty, and I was right -- there was barely anyone at the theater when I went, none of the toilets in the bathroom had been used yet since the lids were all up, and they apparently spray down all the seats between showings but that day there had been no showings in that room yet.) I wore my mask the entire time, did not get food, and stayed away from everyone as much as possible.e

So I guess we'll see how that worked. The only other film I'd consider doing this for would be Mulan, but I am thinking that film might have more people in the theater unfortunately.

Frankly, I'm kind of disappointed, especially after the months of pre-buzz, the large budget, and all the hype of releasing it and "saving 2020 cinema." I was actually bored through some of it and the sets don't FEEL like they spent as much money on the film as they claim. Even that "real plane crash" they were hyping isn't really a crash in the way you might think (not like "Knowing," for example, of something pretty crazy with an airplane) and feels underwhelming.

the leads were decent, although it's odd Kenneth Branagh play a stereotypical russian role. And actually, in hindsight, the film was very much thought out on a conceptual level and then it really took the "TENET" palindrome concept to its maximum conclusion in how the film is structured. So there are things to think about after the film, in noting how the broadest concepts fit together and connect. And of course there are some fight sequences and things on the highway where they are overlapping people moving forward in time and others backwards in time at once -- so the stunt / camera work is pretty complex, even if it doesn't necessarily feel worth the bang for the buck.

On the other hand, the time mechanism is underwhelming in some ways -- not nearly as cool as the trailers made it look. And the film has no real heart. it's all pretty much cerebral, but the Nolan films I have enjoyed the most have had both a brain and a heart. Inception is capable of making me cry on repeated viewings due to the emotional catharsis involved, DESPITE how some of the film dialogue is purely expository in nature and a bit hackneyed;Tenet has no such thing, really, despite a few feeble attempts.

Also, I felt like the music was kind of a cobbled-together David Julyan / Hans Zimmer copy, and while it was fine as background music during the film, NONE of it sticks with me after. It has no kind of recognizable thumb imprint. (Tell me how the hell Zimmer manages to take a score like he wrote for Inception and makes it stick in your head.) It's basically got no personality of its own.

And finally the reports about the sound problems are very true. The dialogue (especially for the opening sequence) is VERY difficult to understand. It improves about 15 minutes into the film, but there are still sequences where you're just figuring out what they must be saying based on the plot and gist, rather than actually comprehending the words. Don't ask me wtf they were thinking. Maybe it's realistic not to be able to understand talking in an action sequence if you were actually there, but this is a film and they're trying to tell a story; that kind of thing only makes sense if you're trying to convey the impression of a battle scene, where the dialogue doesn't matter much, it's just supposed to be a battle. there, the dialogue is actually important to understand what is unfolding in the film.

Anything moving the film up in the rankings of Nolan films is related to the thought process that went into conceiving the picture. But other films of his have had far more heart and soul. I am seeing a pattern of Nolan needing a cowriter to bring out the humanity better; I wish he would do this for his future films. I think I own a home copy of every Nolan film that came out except for Dunkirk (and I admitted only bought The Dark Knight Rises as part of a boxed set or because it was super-super-cheap), but this might not be one that I care to watch again. I also don't think that it will cut cross-audience like Inception did, although it's the "most like" that film in his repertoire, due to the lack of human connection.

Ultimately I can't say I'm happy I risked going, it might not have been worth it.
 

Totenkindly

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On the other hand, despite there only being 4-5 trailers and mostly for real suckbag movies....

... one of them was for DUNE.

Which is really wild, because the trailer really doesn't explain much about the film itself, but I found it riveting. I wanted badly to see it anyway, and now even moreso. The actors are just pretty great and the short trailer had real ambiance.
 

SearchingforPeace

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I saw it Monday at an early access screening on a huge screen theater with very loud sound. I had gone last Friday to see Inception in the same theater for the 10th anniversary special release, so it was the quite the contrast.

Inception is just a far far better movie, though Tenet isn't bad. It just could have been far far better.

The first problem was the casting. Robert Pattinson is the real heart of the film. Elizabeth Debecki is supposed to provide that, and she did a nice job, but she just couldn't do it. JDW was very athletic and capable, but he was a mere tourist.

There was a lot to like in the film, but it falls in the bottom half of the Nolan films in my book.

Maybe a second viewing at home with subtitles on will make it better.

I suspect the absence of his brother's involvement might be a factor.
 

Totenkindly

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Yeah, I don't think Tenet is "bad" ,,, it just ends up being a middling affair when it could have been more.

I think Jonathan brings the soul to their collaborations, although I was kinda surprised at how much worse season 3 of westworld was compared to the earlier ones.
 

SearchingforPeace

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Yeah, I don't think Tenet is "bad" ,,, it just ends up being a middling affair when it could have been more.

I think Jonathan brings the soul to their collaborations, although I was kinda surprised at how much worse season 3 of westworld was compared to the earlier ones.

I think Jonathan gets less involved over time. Person of Interest got worse over time, as well.
 

Totenkindly

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human101

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Terrible film from an overrated filmmaker. His best films are Momento and Dunkirk.
 
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