When it was revealed that Christopher Nolan was refusing to not have the film Tenet be released only in theaters, I had hope it was because he knew there was something about his newest film that would be missed by an at home release. ‘Tenet’ is starring John David Washington as an elite soldier that is tasked with preventing what could be the end of the world as he knows it. With the help of his partner played by Robert Pattinson, they will need to learn and anticipate the future to save the present. With this palindrome of a film, Christopher Nolan attempts his version of a ‘Bond’ film, but falls short of the emotional depth and cohesive storytelling that he is known for.
I had a really good time watching Tenet. The acting is great from both our leads, John David Washington plays a character known only as ‘The Protagonist’, he is engaging and again pulls off a great performance. Robert Pattinson is great in his role and seeing him in a nice suit and slicked back hair only confirms that Matt Reeves picked the perfect man for ‘The Batman’. The action is incredible and the way he shoots in reverse while you watch your main characters moving forward is ahead of it’s time. Real, practical stunts that are jaw dropping to consider them being done in real life but only made my viewing experience better. Christopher Nolan again sets a new standard to film-making that Hollywood needs to hold themselves to. You’ve never seen action done in this fashion.
He uses his experiences in filming ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Inception’ to ratchet the tension and bend time in creative and engaging ways. I love the ‘007’ esque feel and it is even more of a spectacle than any Bond film. Nolan reaches for new and creative ways to captivate his audience and I was engaged from beginning to end. The runtime is lengthy but I didn’t feel it because of how well paced the action is from start to finish. The score by Ludwig Göransson is fantastic, he is one of my favorite composers working today and kicks the film into a higher gear than without him.
The problems with ‘Tenet’ is in it’s complexity. The film is a tough follow even for a seasoned Nolan viewer. I have heard a lot said about the sound mixing and that the actors are often unintelligible with all the other sounds. I can see their points however, it’s not a deal-breaker for me. Mainly my issue lies with the emotional heart of the film. The female protagonist, played by Elizabeth Debicki, is caught between two worlds, the concept of her story arc is compelling but it just wasn’t very well executed. The chemistry between herself and John David Washington doesn’t exist. Although they both are great performers and I would say separately do well in the film, It feels like a lot of half-hearted attempts at getting you to feel for them. Also the writing and dialogue in ‘Tenet’ may be the worst we’ve seen from Christopher Nolan. The last scene has a line that made me cringe not because of how useless it felt, but by how much importance Nolan seemed to put on it.
Overall Tenet is everything you want from a Nolan film. If you feel this is the film to save 2020 or have any higher expectations than just a great action film done by Christopher Nolan, you might be disappointed. One thing, please if you go to the theaters wear a mask, practice social distancing, and be respectful to the workers and throw all your trash away. We can have nice things if we all help out individually. I DO NOT want to go back to no theaters.
‘Tenet’ gets a 7.5/10