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Christopher Nolan's Tenet - Espionage Movie


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This is available to "buy" in 1080p now. Sucker for time travel films so I enjoyed it, although it suffers a bit from Nolan's penchant for Men Execute Plan sequences.

 

One thing I wanted to ask - the issues about the dialogue in the mix, was that throughout the film in the cinema or specifically when Neil is being shown around the Freeport? Watching it tonight the latter was the only noticeable time that you couldn't hear the dialogue, and I thought that was because they were making the point that he's not really listening to the bloke's spiel, he's checking out the security arrangements.

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Just watched this. Very well put together as usual and I was gripped, but ultimately fell a bit flat when those end credits rolled.

 

Memento is his only good film, right? 

 

This felt even more tryhard than Inception. Kinda like mindfuck for the sake of it. 

 

I think i was disappointed because I had a feeling the end was going to be 

Spoiler

Him spitting out the 'cyanide' from the opening scene

..meaning we'd get some epic weird

Spoiler

palindromic

ending, but nah we went with

 

Spoiler

save/change the course of spacetime 

 

..instead, which felt a bit rubbish. 

 

 

Meh/10

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I never get the praise for The Prestige. I’ve watched it a couple of times and always felt it was overly long and pretty boring. The ‘twist’ didn’t really do anything for me either.

 

As for Tenet, it sounds like a cool idea on paper, but it just wasn’t that exciting to watch. It’s also far too obtuse, but that seems to be Nolan’s thing.

 

Dunkirk is really the only film of his that I’ve enjoyed, but I still haven’t got around to watching Memento yet.

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I’d had the twist of The Prestige spoiled for me before I saw it the first time. But the beauty of the film is that it is all laid out for you right from the start, it’s a wonderful piece of misdirection. 
 

As for Tenet, I’ve already posted my thoughts but suffice to say I love it. It’s complex but I think it fits together perfectly once you understand what’s going on (or at least think you do). It doesn’t quite hit the heights of The Prestige or Inception (my favourite Nolan film) and for me that’s because it doesn’t have as strong an emotional message as either of those 2 films.  

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Spoiler

just finished it. Forgive my stupidity but this film is basically like a lot of other time travel stuff where in every situation the protagonists are helped by themselves from the future going back in time, and it just happens over and over again until you don't really know how deep and far back it goes, to the point where John David Washington realises he's the centre of everything and contacted everyone he meets in the film who you thought he actually met for the first time? or something. I don't try to second guess films so I suppose there were many many people yelling in the art heist scene 'that's them! that's them!!' then ?

 

There was an episode of Red Dwarf just like this. Not the backwards episode, which i couldn't help think of when watching the whole of Tenet, but another where Lister and Kryten just keep appearing to help, then Lister asks; 'do we make it?' and Kryten replies; 'no, as we stand around answering you we get done in by this killer robot here'.

 

The best thing about this film might be letterboxd mirroring the page for Tenet when you get to the bottom. Next would be; 'where did you go to, Mars?'

 

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Saw this at the cinema and there were three other people there.  We all came away thinking it wasn't great, but one went back with his wife and said it's a whole lot better the second time.  But I couldn't face that again, it was a really awful viewing experience.  Really fast paced editing on a massive screen doesn't work for me and the indistinct dialogue was more obvious by the ludicrous volume.  It was like cinema had been struggling so much in lockdown that some decided "let's show the audience why cinema is so great" but they were an idiot and and turned everything up to 11 and ruined it. 

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This movie is plain nonsense. The plot is there to serve set pieces, not the other way around. It's cute that multiple rewatches have nice nods to the gimmick of the movie, but I'm not watching 2:30 of that again!

 

The characters are like video game NPCs and even the concept of inversion and being able to exist in a non inverted universe annoys me so much! 

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12 hours ago, Simmy said:

On the note of the dialogue being hard to hear - does anyone know at which scenes specifically?

 

I had no issues yesterday so thinking it was maybe a cinema / setup issue?

 

Nope, it's a mess. Just like Interstellar. Cinemas literally had to print posters telling audiences their equipment wasn't broken and it was actually mixed like that. So I don't buy this "It's intentional" and I definitely don't this "it was alright for me maybe your equipment is broken". I watched the 4K UHD Bluray on these with the dialogue set to +3 and the centre speaker bumped a couple of decibels and it's still muddy and indistinct at key moments. Generally as soon as anything is competing for space with the dialogue - other diagetic sounds, masks or the music, it gets increasingly indistinct. When all of those things are popping off at once I gave up and read the subs.

There are one or two scenes where the dialogue is purposefully muted as an artistic choice, but just one or two. Like when Neil is walking around the freeport and the guy is explaining it to him, but because Neil has an ulterior motive for the trip he's not really listening to the guy and the dialogue is muted to emphasise that. The subs read "indistinct chatter" or "indistinct" in these moments. 

 

I'm not sure it really matters though. The subs only highlight that the dialogue is quite poor.

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8 minutes ago, Moz said:

 

Nope, it's a mess. Just like Interstellar. Cinemas literally had to print posters telling audiences their equipment wasn't broken and it was actually mixed like that. So I don't buy this "It's intentional" and I definitely don't this "it was alright for me maybe your equipment is broken". I watched the 4K UHD Bluray on these with the dialogue set to +3 and the centre speaker bumped a couple of decibels and it's still muddy and indistinct at key moments. Generally as soon as anything is competing for space with the dialogue - other diagetic sounds, masks or the music, it gets increasingly indistinct. When all of those things are popping off at once I gave up and read the subs.

There are one or two scenes where the dialogue is purposefully muted as an artistic choice, but just one or two. Like when Neil is walking around the freeport and the guy is explaining it to him, but because Neil has an ulterior motive for the trip he's not really listening to the guy and the dialogue is muted to emphasise that. The subs read "indistinct chatter" or "indistinct" in these moments. 

 

I'm not sure it really matters though. The subs only highlight that the dialogue is quite poor.

 

Sorry to ask but can you let me know the key moments it was dodgy in?

 

I really want to go back and check now to see if I notice it after the fact.

 

If it's too much hassle it's also ok, I'm just really curious now.

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I only made it as far as the hostage bit in the opening scene (where they're talking about switching the exit while wearing masks) before remembering all the coverage about it being hard to hear and turning the subs on. I just watched it again, Protagonist walks into the room and says "Swan flows, da greens are expecting a passenger". "Never seen a cancellation like this". "We don't know how old it is but it's a real deal". "Did you av an ow?" "Service tunnel". "Take his, I don't trust us any more". "something something tramps, the cheap seats" "nodda mission" "mynow". Even if I dip or cut all the other channels it still sounds pretty ropey. There's a weird moment where a guy asks about something about whether they're centrally synchronised and it's clearly ADR'd in as it's twice as clear as everything else.

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In fairness he's wearing a gasmask in those scenes, so that's literally the hardest time to hear him in the entire film.

 

There was one bit where I couldn't understand what the fuck he was saying, when he drops the 'tenet' codeword to the woman who gives him all the backwards bullet exposition. The rest of it seemed fine, although I was watching on surround headphones so obviously that was a massive factor.

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I'd read an interview with Christopher Nolan and he said that there is an artistic decision made (as mentioned above) and the lines of dialogue that you need to hear in order to understand the story are all clear. The dialogue that would be hard to understand in the situation is also hard to understand in the film.  But for me the cinema experience was head melting. Just so loud that the experience was awful. But I took away from that that if I watched at home on a Blu-ray I'd have no chance of hearing any dialogue at all. If the speech is at level 5 when the rest is at 11 I'd hate to try and follow it at normal TV volume. And anyway, whether Christopher Nolan made an artistic decision or not it seems crazy to expect the viewer to watch the movie in that state.  We don't know it's deliberate and you just spend the whole film thinking the sound mix is shit.

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Weird thing is, a colleague of mine watched a shitty rip (around a gigabyte) last night on laptop speakers and had no problem. There's something off with the dynamic range which might actually be exacerbated by having a sub. Or a wall of them in the case of cinemas. Processing it through some sort of virtual surround or compressing it into a rip and then listening through manky speakers might actually make it easier to hear. Everything sounds spectacular except for the dialogue, but it's crisp and clear when isolated for the most part. I always have adaptive dynamic range compression etc switched off (and any other grim "enhancers") but maybe I should turn everything on for a laugh and see what the receiver makes of it.

 

I think Nolan in those interviews is talking about the specific scenes where the dialogue is quiet on purpose, rather than the scenes where you simply can't hear the plot properly. Which is a problem when your film is 80% people hurriedly saying the plot to each other.

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