Review: Tenet

The long wait for Tenet is finally over. Director Christopher Nolan, best known for his work on The Dark Knight, Inception and Interstellar is back with a new blockbuster as the doors to cinemas finally re-open. And boy, is it incredible. Arguably more confusing that Inception and most definitely disorienting in style (I still may not totally understand all of what was going on), Tenet can only be described as an ambitiously epic film.

In this genre-bending, spy-inspired spectacle, Nolan takes the concept of inversion and the reversed entropy of an object/person and makes it into a phenomenal film, best watched only in cinemas, about an unnamed secret agent attempting to stop world war three from occurring. Nolan’s love for cinema and film-making comes across tenfold as his creativity and artistic freedom is delved into every sequence. Wholly unique and original in premise, Nolan twists all things temporal to a whole new level. He aims for the stars and he is successful, welcoming me back to the cinema with a film I will possibly never forget.

Image Credit: IMDB

Performance wise, Tenet has a stellar cast. John David Washington is THE protagonist, doing a brilliant job of portraying a stoic, charming secret agent who thrives on pure, raw adrenaline. Washington brings hard-work and determination to the role, carving out a path for himself where there’s only success. Robert Pattinson is also incredible, something that does not surprise me in the slightest. Neil is a character who is mysterious, keeping the audience gripped and intrigued throughout the long run-time. Pattinson brings a little bit of comedy which, alongside the phenomenal accent, had me utterly gushing in my seat. Bring on The Devil All The Time. However, Tenet is lacking in character development, despite these outstanding performances. Very much a plot over character movie, we lack background stories and emotional attachments right up until the very end. More should have been invested in the clear relationship between Neil and Washington’s character because the chemistry is DEFINITELY there.

As for the cinematography, I was mind-blown. I won’t hear a bad word said about the set pieces because I’ve never seen anything so epic in a long time. The fight choreography in particular had me drooling – it’s violent, it’s smart and it’s thoroughly enjoyable to watch. There are three scenes in particular that had me like oh hot damn – the break in, the truck scene and the restaurant scene. Each are excellently choreographed with spectacular stunts that will leave you in awe, even if you are critical about the rest. Pacing wise, however, there is room for improvement. The first half is incredibly fast-paced with quick transitions from scene to scene, removing the chance for the audience to take it all in and truly understand what is happening. When we enter the second half, the film does slow down but the beginning could have also benefited from being less rushed.

Image Credit: IMDB

Finally, I absolutely loved the score. Produced by Lugwig Gotansson, the soundtrack builds the intensity of the film, adding to the tension and overwhelming action sequences. However, it does fall short at the beginning of the film. The sound-editing is so terribly crafted in relation to the dialogue that it becomes hard to hear what the actors are actually saying at times. I found myself getting low-key annoyed as I couldn’t make out what was being said, which, at a critical expositional moment, only added to the confusion.

Tenet is a film that makes you come out of the cinema and start to analyse and figure out what exactly you just watched. This is how I felt when I put my mask on and left the screening. But this is exactly what Nolan intended. Tenet is something you have to re-watch multiple times before you fully understand it, but overall, it’s epic in scale, unique and original in concept and I loved it. My brain hurts but I loved it. Thank you for welcoming me back to the cinema with open arms Nolan.

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