Tenet

Tenet ★★★★½

If not directed by an obsessively meticulous and deliberate director like Christopher Nolan, Tenet would probably have reached heights of laugh out loud absurdism and yet the man behind Inception and Memento managed to make the ridiculous compelling in this mind-twister of an espionage thriller.

Almost every single thing that has been said about Tenet thusfar is true. It's exposition heavy, has a loud and ever present soundtrack, is bombastic, at times hard to follow and wild to a degree that's difficult to express into words. In other words: I wasn't bored for even a second during those fast-paced 150 minutes.

Nolan has always been a writer of complex stories rather than complex characters and this is no exception there. Though, that doesn't mean that there isn't any gripping characterwork at all. John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh actually bring some genuine emotion into a further mostly cold film, and the relationships between them unfold into intriguing and sometimes frightening directions. And especially in Pattinson's character Nolan even found ways to bring glimpses of something that could be humour. Branagh delivers excellent work as a truly vile villain and the despair on Debicki's face is saying more than a thousand words. The emotional resonance relies heavily on the capability of the actors and on suggestion, more so than on actual backstories. Those details sure are interwoven into the main plot, but they're pushed into the background to fully make the complex story about binary, time-manipulating espionage trickery the worthy center of it all.

The action is truly something to behold. I haven't seen anything like it before. It's beyond me how this was able to be achieved, as it's all playing forwards and backwards, often at the same time and this makes for a mind blowing, stunning visual spectacle and technical miracle full of stirring action-sequences that make two and a half hours feel like it's only the half of it.

Björn liked these reviews

All