Tenet ★★

Nolan doesn't want to subvert expectations, he wants to invert them...

I didn't really want this to be my first movie at the cinemas in nine months, but it was slim pickings and figured I'd not seen a Nolan movie since The Dark Knight Rises, so would give it a run. After an opening scene at the Opera felt like something Michael Mann would have staged, I felt pumped up and ready for more. Then the whole plot kicked in and Robert Pattinson showed up. In fairness, Pattinson was probably the best performance in this and he managed to make the dialogue seem a bit more human than everyone else. Kenneth Branagh was fun in his campy role in Wild Wild West, but here he was dismal with little to relish in lines like, "If I can't have her...no one can." It did make me wonder why he's not been offered a Bond villain role, though. I could see that working.

Fuck this backwards nonsense. Tired of it. Tired of characters encountering themselves in alternate timelines, be it Star Trek or Twin Peaks, or the bloody Avengers. Sure there are clever examples out there, but for me this approach to the action was enervating, and drained any life that those scenes might have possessed. I remember when critics gave Roger Avary a hard time when he hit the visual rewind a few times in The Rules of Attraction. Now we've got endless fawning over Nolan's technique here. What Nolan accomplished in Memento nearly twenty years ago is still his most accomplished stuff. Tenet has a cold, uninspired surface quality that doesn't engage me.

I'll admit that much of this existential science-fiction is largely not for me, and that's really what it comes down to. I did enjoy some of Nolan's Batman work, but I'm utterly underwhelmed by this. Also, that music score. Not sure how I would describe it. I'm sure it was recorded backwards. Finally, I was not happy to see masks play a functional part of the story. I wouldn’t mind a temporary ban on using them in movies. Would cut a blow to superhero stories. I wanted to escape the facehugger imagery for a couple of hours, and at least the cinema didn't impose them on us. 4.2/10

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