‘Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.’
Well, I wish I could.
Tenet came out around this time last year when things were a little different. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to venture out to catch it at the cinemas and did not want the hype around it to influence my thoughts on it.
It’s been a long year and after finally digesting this (with subtitles) I can say…it is a dud.
I am sorry Nolan fans but this isn’t his best work. It feels like Nolan has disappeared in his own aura and self-indulgence, that he feels he can just rustle something up and no-one will notice how bad it is, the film just does not work.
To give a bit of background of the premise of the film, bear with me, it centres on the ‘protagonist’ John David Washington (son of Denzel and brilliant in BlackkKlansman 2018) who is recruited by an unknown organisation to carry out a mission to save the world from Sator (Kenneth Branagh) who is intent on its destruction, sounds like your average espionage caper, but the difference with this is that not everything is in real time and we learn about inversion, temporal junction and temporal pincer movement and also what’s happened, happened, hmm.
The supporting cast are good with the limited character development they have been given, to note they are very one-dimensional. There is an abysmal side-story of Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) which feels contrite and forced – it would not pass the Bechdel test? Robert Pattinson as Neil is one who comes out of this well, he was great in The Lighthouse (2019) and no surprise he is being tipped for bringing new life into the Batman franchise.
The other good points are the set-pieces, cinematography and music, but this is the standard expected from a Nolan film so nothing new here. I saw this with the subtitles on and understood the plot and story – I’m afraid this would have been near impossible at the cinema as the sound editing for this is not great.
There are lots of theories of who is who and sub-plots being discussed on forums and message boards and I am one for this, but instead of having enjoyed a film that asks philosophical questions I was more concerned about how that was filmed and is that possible? Is that a good thing? No!
There was an emptiness and hollowness when the end credits rolled, it was as if I just did not care what had happened, as I was not emotionally invested in the plot or characters, even the Mission Impossible films and Bourne Trilogy had more emotion than this. I am sorry to say this gets a low rating from me and I am disappointed that Nolan has made a film which is far below his standards. I hope he can restart at the beginning but it looks like what’s happened has happened, hmm.