I thoroughly enjoyed Tenet but for those who appreciate storytelling, for the wrong reasons, I would find it difficult to explain to you what it was about, what it meant and how the story made me feel. It was a masterclass in manipulating a viewer’s emotions through production rather than plot. I enjoyed Tenet because of its editing, its soundtrack, its fast-paced and complicated action sequences, its use of 35 and 70mm film, it’s dramatic acting and its many explosions. I became my younger self again, watching Titanic or Avatar for the first time. It hooked me from the beginning, and I was slightly irritated by any moments that dealt with exposition through pure dialogue.
I don’t believe this film will work for those who like character development, meaningful dialogue or even, clever concepts. The concept of this movie sounds silly when explained well and laughable when explained badly. It’s definitely not for everyone and I imagine it will divide groups as they leave the cinema. However, if you can ignore poorly developed characters, forgetful and occasionally cringy dialogue, inaccessible science fiction and an incoherent plot then the hand to hand combat, car chases, James Bondesque locations, and a ‘save the world mission’, will make this a movie you will love.
In similar vein to Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan appears to have become more unruly with each film. Pushing his infatuation with philosophical ideas to its limit. This film felt like the end of a trilogy beginning with his dream-sharing heist movie Inception, and followed by his epic science fiction film Interstellar. All three films deal with the concept of time and its effects on our relationships, maybe less so with this latest film. Although, in an effort to seem intelligent and to wow audiences, he may have alienated some instead. I think he’s taken it too far this time. For me, it works but if you’re long term Nolan fan, this might be a disappointment, as Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was for some.
If I was to watch this film again, I would notice its intelligence and make sense of the story. It took Nolan several years to write the film and he even received consultation from a theoretical physicist, so maybe Tenet is as intelligent as it wants to be. I don’t think it is, but I’m not a scientist; it will be very interesting to hear what they have to say. More importantly, I worry that if you can only make someone enjoy a film through visual effects and fistfights, you may have lost what makes films so satisfying for people.
Image Credit: IMDb