In a world where Christopher Nolan has changed the landscape of movies on a few occasions, he once again transcends film with Tenet. When you’ve climbed the highest peaks of cinema, it’s difficult to remain on top. Tenet isn’t his best outing, but it’s unlike anything he’s done before.
First and foremost. It felt so good to be back at the theatres! What a difficult 5 months that was, you truly don’t understand what you have until it’s gone. But here we are, it’s the end of the summer and there’s no better way to spend a hot summer day, then in an ice-cold room watching Christopher Nolan do his thing. Tenet was on everyone’s radar for a number of reasons. We don’t really have directors like Nolan, where, when they put out a movie every few years and it almost becomes like an event. Seeing how this year has been hard on everyone and we have lost a lot of what used to be normal, sitting back and watching a movie again felt really good. Let me be clear, I have the utmost respect for Nolan and what he has been able to accomplish in the world of cinema, but with that being said, I do believe he is the most overrated and underrated filmmaker of this century. Tenet is so unique and feels so fresh, that you kind of want to block out all of the bad that comes with this movie. That’s how I felt watching it, I loved what I was watching on the screen, but part of me was lost the entire time, and this is a very heavy plot-driven movie, where it is very easy to get lost along the way.
In a movie with such strong leading men in John David Washington (Protagonist) and Robert Pattinson (Neil), I just wanted more out of their characters. The plot gets laid on you so thick, that there was just no time to really connect and understand who these two dudes really are. Maybe that was part of the point, but they are so good in their respective roles that I wanted to learn more about them. You usually get that from Nolan movies, whether it was Batman, or Cobb from Inception, his leading man usually has a reason for doing whatever it is he’s trying to accomplish. With Tenet it felt different, and part of me wished that wasn’t the case. When the idea of your movie and the scope is so large I can justify and understand why Nolan probably shifted away from that, because it’s a complex idea. When the movie really dives into the concept of “time inversion” and it showcases exactly what Nolan wanted this movie to become, it’s simply breath-taking and pure adrenaline to watch. That’s the core of the movie, preventing World War III because someone from the future is able to create things that can “inverted” time. It’s not time travel but rather you go backward in time, and there is a difference. I’m not going to get into any specifics because the less you know about really anything, the more enjoyable this whole experience is. I will say this, however, towards the middle of the movie, there is a sequence that I truly believe is neck and neck with the Batman/Joker showdown in the streets of Gotham has his finest set-piece. It was mesmerizing to watch, and without a doubt the highlight of the movie.
It’s a slow burn for sure, like I mentioned the plot just keeps getting more convoluted, and with each passing big action set-piece comes another layer and another wrinkle into this already confusing idea. I feel like that’s why there are just so few characters in this thing. Besides the two leads, Elizabeth Debicki (Kat) plays a major role, as she is the wife to the villainous Sator (Kenneth Branagh). I felt at times he was a little over the top and was certainly chewing the fat in every scene he was in. The whole movie hinges on him and as we learn more about time inversion we realize just how dangerous one man can become. Debicki is quite solid as the female lead and has her moment to shine and I would love to see more of her. It’s stupid, but she’s a very tall woman and they didn’t shy away from that in this movie. Sometimes in Hollywood, that can be a problem for some actors but it was on full display here, and again it’s a simple thing, but it was just something I picked up on. Washington and Pattison really get their first big taste as leading men in a “blockbuster” and it suited them both like a glove. Both are going to be megastars and seeing Pattinson in this only reminded me of how insanely perfect he in for Batman.
Overall Tenet is more like Inception than Interstellar and I’d say and for me, that’s what I wanted. It takes one simple idea and injects Nolan steroids into it and ultimately we end up with an entertaining movie, that will certainly need more than one viewing. This movie won’t be for everyone, but if you are already a Nolan stan than this will be right up your alley, but I think some movie-goers might find it hard to keep up.
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Tenet = 82/100