Tenet ★★★★

2020 Ranked
2020 Cinema Visits
Directors Ranked: Christopher Nolan

So the thing about Christopher Nolan. On the one hand, I hate the "reboot/prequel/sequel" stage the majority of Hollywood is at, so the fact that Nolan comes with original shit every time deserves credit. Not only does he come with batshit insane concepts for films, he gets blockbuster money to make them as batshit as he really needs to, so again, credit to him. But, and maybe I am way off on this, I always get the feeling that Nolan feels as though he has to be the smartest guy in the room. Like, the last few years, the majority of his films have been crazy conceptually, and I feel like sometimes he makes them unnecessarily so, just to have people say "I don't get it." I was one of those people for Interstellar (for the most part), and I know plenty of people in that camp for Inception and now, Tenet.

As for Tenet itself, it is masterfully made. On a technical level, it's incredible. The cinematography is breathtaking, the score is phenomenal despite not being a Hans Zimmer score. Even the pacing of the film was great. The 2.5 hours flew by for me, and I am someone who generally notices when films are long. But I feel let down in two areas; the writing (hear me out) and the sound mixing.

I'll start with the sound mixing as this is a common theme in Nolan films, I've noticed. For whatever reason, Nolan chooses to have the score so fucking loud, in some scenes it is impossible to hear what's actually going on. What purpose does that serve? It's just fucking annoying.

As for the writing, I admit that this (as well as Inception and even Interstellar, the latter of which I was not a fan of) is conceptually brilliant and I can only hope that as a budding writer myself, I can come up with something half as original one day. But there is like, no character development here, at all. Maybe a little for Elizabeth Debicki, but even so, her character is a generic "woman stuck in a bad marriage to a Russian gangster" one, so even though there is a character to care about, it still seems half-assingly written. I also don't know if half-assingly is a word, but it is now. There is also the fact that a lot (A LOT) of the dialogue is literally just exposition. There is nothing wrong with a little expository dialogue but if half your film is made up of it, maybe that's a bit too much.

In saying all of that, this is still an incredibly enjoyable watch. There are some very creative action sequences, and a lot of it is done with practical effects, which I always admire. The performances of cast are great, with Robert Pattinson being the standout, although I particularly enjoyed Kenneth Branagh's scenery-chewing Russian gangster as well. John David Washington wasn't bad at all, and I think he has a bright, bright future, but he was given very little to work with in terms of his character. I just hope for his next film, Nolan gives a bit more love to the characters and stops trying to make himself the star, even if he is a master at his craft.

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