You know the old adage “if you’re not confused af, did you even watch a Chris Nolan movie?” Well his latest offering Tenet may be the pinnacle of his mind-bending on-screen experiences, but it’s extremely enjoyable if you can handle the 2.5 hrs of mental gynmastics.
As Tenet movie reviews go, it might be difficult to find ones that don’t contain spoilers, but most of them have this in common: Tenet is a wild ride and what movie lovers needed after almost 6 months away from the theatres. It starts off with a bang (literally!) and doesn’t let up until the credits roll. It’s almost a good thing that you’ll likely be wearing a mask because there’s a good chance your face will be scrunched up the whole time as you try to follow along at the same pace.
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Ballers) is the star of the show, also known as “The Protagonist”; he’s beyond cool, smooth, likeable, and easily carries the weight of this new sci-fi blockbuster on his shoulders. Robert Pattinson (Twilight saga) provides some light comic relief by playing Neil, the secretive sidekick who also knows a bit more than he lets on. After a thrilling (and ear-ringing) opening scene, the The Protagonist (Washington) is recruited by a mysterious agency to save the world from something worse than a nuclear holocaust: total annihilation by way of “inversion”. Think time travel, but way more complicated. Nolan does have a reputation to keep alive, after all!
The best thing (or is it the worst thing?) about Chris Nolan films is that he doesn’t spoon feed you anything. That’s why the music is always so damn loud and half the cast is typically wearing some sort of mask (looking at you The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk), which makes it harder to hear or read lips if you’re really getting desperate. Tenet is no different, so if these things frustrate you, you won’t get much relief here.
It’s flashy, it’s interesting to watch, and all the characters are pretty darn cool – but all the time bending twists don’t leave much room for in-depth character development or an emotional connection. Both Inception and Interstellar had more substance in that department. But… that’s probably not why you’re interested in seeing Tenet anyway. So it’s not a deal-breaker.
While Tenet also isn’t quite on par with Inception in terms of jaw-dropping visuals and eye-popping action sequences, it is in no way a disappointment. There’s enough gravity (and time) -defying stunts, ruthless bad guys (Kenneth Branagh), mind-bending action, and BWAMMMMs (a wonderful score by Ludwig Göransson instead of Hans Zimmer this time) to keep you entertained until the film’s final moments.
Tenet opened in international theatres on Aug. 26, 2020 and made its way to some U.S. theatres over the Labor Day weekend. It was produced with a whopping $200M budget and after just 2 weeks it has made over $150M at the big office.
It may not be in the 90’s on Rotten Tomatoes, but this score is still pretty solid for such a brainy film (that a good portion of people will not understand at all after the first viewing).
If you’re going to pick a movie to serve as your back-to-the-movies night out (masked and socially distanced of course), Tenet is a solid choice because that’s how most Nolan movies are meant to be seen: on the big screen with an epic sound system. You may even want to see it again… and again.
Watch the official Warner Bros. trailer here: