Tenet ★★½

A character five minutes into this movie: “Don’t try to understand it.”

Me, smoking my weed pen in the private theater we rented in Connecticut: You got it, dude!

This feels like a cousin to INCEPTION or at least the second entry in what will inevitably be the Chris Nolan Fucks With Time trilogy. For someone who fucking loves time so much I wish he would respect mine a little more! 

A lot of the inverted time / backwards stuff is cool but only ever mildly exciting, and when you get down to it, this is really just a “let’s go back in time to stop a thing from happening” movie which are a dime a dozen! How many times can the same reveal, that’s been in a million movies and TV shows and books, be dramatic? I kept that vague for spoiler purposes. You’ll know what I mean. 

There simply aren’t enough Nolan-y action set pieces to justify the bloated runtime. The ones that exist are fun, though! One feels practically ripped from a FAST AND FURIOUS movie, which I obviously loved. 

Also, is John David Washington...not a good actor, or is it just that the Nolan dialogue does him no favors? Branagh has the most fun here, and Pattinson is good but underutilized. Pretty sure this is the second movie in which Elizabeth Debicki gets pistol whipped, which tells you a lot about her role here. 

People that say Nolan isn’t funny are dead wrong, though. I laughed often! It’s funny! Probably his funniest? Washington does sell all the humor well, I’ll give him that. 

Great score, too! Very Nolan still but updated and a bit more dynamic. 

I appreciate the subtext more than the actual text here; the idea of fate and being the protagonist of your own story and master of your own world. I loved what he’s swinging for. It just doesn’t pay off the way he thinks it does. Not super satisfying. 

Missed opportunities: Not using Tom Green’s “The Backwards Man” song from FREDDY GOT FINGERED.

Who called this TENET and not Christopher Nolan’s GEMINI MAN? 

More on this week’s New Flesh podcast out tomorrow!

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