Tenet will warrant head-scratching, multiple re-watches, and a lifetime worth of patience to finally understand the film entirely. Christopher Nolan’s latest sci-fi thriller will do quite a number on the minds of everyone who dares to watch. It’s been said ad nauseam, but Tenet is the most ambitious film to date from the acclaimed director.
In what will easily be called the most baffling film in his career, Tenet impresses more with it’s action sequences than with its complex narrative. Nolan shows so much interest in wanting you to figure out the plot that he neglects giving us any chance to connect with the characters involved. Directed and written by Nolan, the film stars Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, Dimple Kapadia, and John David Washington. Tenet follows an unnamed CIA agent, as he attempts to manipulate the flow of time to prevent the third world war.
A simple premise that quickly evolves into mind-bender of the year. If Nolan’s intent was to spark conversation, job well done because Tenet is not easy to follow upon first viewing, and that’s the point. Nolan’s script is layered with details to help you along the way, but it will not come together easily with one viewing. Sadly, despite spending many years working on this script, the characters involved have little development. You won’t find yourself caring for them, but Tenet’s compelling plot is enough to keep you interested.
The lead role, simply called the protagonist, is well acted by Washington, but we spend most of the film with this unnamed character and it’s hard to get on his side. Acting aside, this character is not that interesting because very little is known about him outside of trying to save the world. In fact, he is the only character in the film without a name. Tenet features some solid performances from the entire cast, and of course, as seen in the trailers it is filled with impeccable cinematography throughout. Pattinson stars alongside Washington as Neil, who at first glance seems to be a simple sidekick, but then is transformed before the credits roll.
Pattinson’s performance here may get a few doubters more hyped for his upcoming Batman persona. Nolan does what he is a master at by directing this film with ease, but I would say this isn’t one of his better outings as a director. Despite that, he is part of the elite, and effectively depicts why his spot is deserved. It’s evident the focus was on putting together a visual spectacle, and that’s exactly what Tenet will be remembered for if nothing else. The dialogue between our characters may be hard to follow at times and the time travel may take multiple viewings to understand. However, Tenet is still a beautifully shot film that features great acting, and a score that is oscar worthy.
The film’s biggest detractor is it’s plot and the muffled dialogue. As ambitious as it is, Tenet has so many missing pieces that you have to put together on your own that it can become tiring. Coined the film that would save cinemas, Tenet is Nolan’s latest attempt at causing moviegoers minds to constantly shift gears while watching. Featuring some of the year’s best action sequences, and probably the only film this year that will cause a migraine. A spy film that won’t go down as his best film, but a movie that needs to be seen many times to appreciate how well made it is, and to fully grasp the concept of inversion. Tenet is another impressive outing from Nolan, who indeed may have just saved cinemas.