Tenet

Tenet

A cinematic event packed with dazzling spectacle, awe inspiring set-pieces, and inventive action sequences, Tenet is Christopher Nolan’s most indulgent film. One that showcases his greatest assets as a filmmaker, as well as his most glaring flaws.

The dialogue is weak at times and the characterizations are not particularly compelling but the cast is so solid that the performances nearly negate these issues. The sound mix is overblown in some areas and too quiet in others, primarily the dialogue which was difficult to understand at times, but this problem is being blown out of proportion by some claiming to have missed more than 2/3rds of what was being said.

The palindromic structure of the film was an inventive idea, though Nolan did not seem to fully commit. One might expect the opening sequence to be revisited at the end from another perspective but this is substituted with an admittedly beautiful, climactic battle sequence with some jaw dropping VFX shots. 

John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki all turn in fantastic performances, though in typical Nolan fashion none of the characters have an incredible amount of depth or much in the way of a tangible means for audiences to relate to them. They service the plot of the film, and the plot services the set pieces, so the characters don’t feel as vital to the overall product. 

The highlights are definitely the action sequences playing with relatively inverted timelines converging during shootouts, car chases, hand to hand combat, etc. These moments showcase incredible stunt-work and effects. The action scenes in this movie properly execute some ambitious ideas that have likely never been seen in this fashion on the big screen before. 

Ludwig Göransson‘s score is another vital asset for Tenet. It feels not too dissimilar from the work Hans Zimmer would typically do with Nolan but Göransson takes the music to new heights in various ways, one of which includes portions of the score played in reverse to amazing effect. 

Tenet is a mixed bag on paper, but it is so high concept and technically marvelous that some narrative flaws can be overlooked for the sake of beholding the masterful craftsmanship on display. The highs are enough to earn a strong recommendation even if the film is lacking in some areas. It is not Nolan’s best but it seems like a film that could reward repeat viewings, regardless of that it is definitely worth seeing at least once.

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