Tenet ★★★

"Duty transcends national interests."

Tenet is all about "saving the world from what might have been," which may sound heroic, but at its core this instinct is rooted in the conservative maintenance of the status quo. The idea that you're preventing theoretical wars by calling the future-cops on every suspicious car you see with your reverse-entropy cell phone is a precrime fantasy born from an anti-radical ideology of paranoid strategic-intelligence fetishism.

It's another case for the lesson that psychoanalysis teaches about paranoia: just because you're right doesn't mean you're not paranoid. Just because (in the context of the film) there actually are secret societies hiding in plain sight behind the curtain of everyday reality, just because there actually are people who instantly code-switch when you say the magic word, that doesn't mean that your nongovernmental paramilitary force running around abducting and shooting people isn't still violently delusional.

Which is so disappointing, because Nolan seemed to understand the dangers of these totalitarian security systems back when he made The Dark Knight. In just over a decade he's gone from dismantling Batman's Patriot Act multi-screen television to endorsing The Protagonist's Qualified Immunity time-travel telephone. "Save the world, then we'll balance the books" is a cute line, but it's little more than propaganda to justify surveillance-state oppression.

But the reverse-entropy set pieces are some of the coolest shit I've ever seen in my godforsaken life, plus RPatz/JDW bromance, so here's three stars I guess

2020 | Christopher Nolan | Hoyte van Hoytema | Sci-Fi

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