Tenet ★★★★½

Best of 2020 - Ranked

Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite modern directors.  No one else takes the massive swings he does.  Bombastic action set pieces filmed in IMAX with gorgeous people in original ultra high concept stories.  I really don’t care that the emotional stakes might not always be there or well explained.  I really don’t care that the mechanics of the physics involved are tough to understand and may not add up.   I really do care that this was big time movie fun, writ super large.

Nolan has said that people who try to just enjoy his movies do better than those who feel they are in a chess match with him.  He’s been thinking about his movies for decades and were just coming in for 2 hours so we have no hope of matching up.  Good point.  I’m also blessed to have a banging home theater set up and took the opportunity to turn on subtitles at times and rewind some scenes so I could understand a little better.  I also plan to rewatch this very soon.

But back to the fun, this opens with a heist an the camera damn near never stops moving.  The score is amazing and intense.  In a year without big theatrical movies, this was so refreshing.   Like getting on a triple loop inverted roller coaster after a year of the little train in the kiddie park.

John David Washington is our next big ticket action star.  He’s amazing in the fights and cuts a slick figure in his tailored suits.  Robert Pattinson is weird and awesome as usual and his choices make much more sense by the end of the movie.  Elizabeth Debicki is very very tall and quite good.   Kenneth Branagh has a great Russian accent and does a terrific job.  Aaron Taylor Johnson was unrecognizable.

There are no fewer than seven big ticket action set pieces and three or four of them rank among the very best of the past 20 years.  

As they say in the movie itself, don’t try to understand it, just feel it.

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