Welcome to Tenet
Tenet; a thrilling and mind-bending spy film directed by Christopher Nolan.
Nolan, known gloriously as the man behind Inception, The Dark Knight, and Interstellar, returns to wow us with his take on the spy-film genre.
Tenet finds an unnamed CIA spy: The Protagonist (John David Washington), swept up in a new cold war, defined by new world-ending temporal based technology, that has the power to not only end all life but everything that ever was.
Recruited by the super-secret organization: Tenet, The Protagonist (yes, that’s his name), must stop the megalomaniac arms dealer; Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) from kicking off World War 3 with this futuroscope technology.
Some of my favorite points about the production, without spoilers, include:
Christopher Nolan Delivers Another Masterpiece but…
Christopher Nolan has made a name for himself in melding real-world grit with near-real science or ideas. Look at Batman or Inception.
Tenet, is no different.
Taking inspiration from scientific concepts in theoretical physics, and warping them into a real-world context, with some spy-fu thrown in.
This mixing of the dramatic, energetic, and mind-numbing scope of the world Nolan creates is breathtaking. However, with all its scope and concepts, I did find myself left wanting a more resolute conclusion to the tale of Tenet.
Amazing to behold yes, shocking, and awe-inspiring of course, but, so much so that to digest such work from the outset is a heavier ask than may have been intended.
John David Washington is perfect!
Yes, John David Washington is the eldest of Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Washington’s performance in Tenet was stellar.
Fresh of the success and star power of HBO series: Ballers, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Washington delivered an outstanding performance throughout the film, and has created what I consider to be the new standard in what the world should expect from an American-styled spy.
Cocky, intelligent, passionate, and highly-skilled, John David Washington’s The Protagonist is simply awesome and everything the modern spy should and could be, taking the best from Bonds and Bournes before him, and creating something new.
I look forward to future spy movies that follow Washington and Nolan’s approach.
For me Tenet does James Bond, but better.
Robert Pattinson is no longer a shiny twit
Robert Pattinson has long been the butt of every Twilight joke I know, and with his new film: The Batman coming into view, I was excited to see if Pattinson was able to break away from that mold I had resigned him to, for far too long.
He did and with style.
Pattinson’s performance as Neil was enjoyable overall, providing a tempered contrast to Washington’s less bond-like flavor.
Together on screen, Pattinson and Washington swelled with chemistry and seemed to easily play off each other’s unique characteristics and backgrounds. One being the youthful sidekick at some points and the other being the more experienced leader; depending on the time.
It’s time travel, but seriously not though… no seriously
Making a point of being brain-twisting
Nolan has never shied away from applying complex technicalities in his films, but not too much as to make each thrill or mechanic seem out of place in his universe, but rather, have the complexity work homely within the story.
In Tenet, you’re reminded, ever so subtly, that it’s ok to not fully understand the complex nuances of Nolan’s inverted universe and technology.
The Protagonist represents the audience many times in the film; questioning and getting confused and mismatched in trying to understand a non-linear world, but guided by his partner Neil to try to make sense of the entire inverted war.
Don’t feel bad if you’re not catching on straight away, you’re not supposed to on your first run through the movie.
The price of a ticket
As always with any review, in the modern age of cinema and streaming, it’s less ideal to go to the cinema, what with the end of the world and all, so when you find a good movie, you want to know if it’s worth your time and money.
Let me say, dear viewer, this is one of those films that you owe to yourself to watch on the big screen if you can.
Sure, you’ll want to watch it several more times afterward to analyze every strange niche and nuance of the madness that Tenet crafts, but, start this new obsession at the picture show.
Tenet: 9/10 (I took a point off for the two hours I needed after the end of the film to recover my brains off the side of the wall).
I recommend Roxy Cinema if you’re curious.