Tenet ★★★★

I’ve always had a troubled relationship with Christopher Nolan. Maybe troubled is a harsh word, but at least for me, his films have never really reached the intellectual weight people always seem to pipe on about. Tenet is a clear example of this, a palindrome seemingly designed for the sake of being clever, playing its grand game of chess to convince us into a false state of confusion.

But was I confused? Absolutely. Was I feeling dumb? You bet your ass. Was the total lack of humour throwing the film off as a whole? Sure. Was I thoroughly enjoying every jaw-dropping explosion or bullet fired, be it inverted, converted, extroverted, or otherwise? Of course I was! Nolan’s films are for the cinema, there’s no question. I came out with a sore head and tinnitus, and in my experience, that kind of feeling is always worth the trip. There’s a shot during the plane crash set-piece that is, with no exaggeration, the most 3D I’ve ever seen a 2D image look, the camera panning past the nose of the plane, making it literally burst out of the screen. That two second shot alone makes it worth the price of admission. Pair this money burning method of filmmaking with Nolan’s first black protagonist and you’re onto a winner, even if the movements are standardised to the point of making characters seem more like pawns than real people.

Support the cinemas. We all know people are dying, but so is the industry we love. With face-masks, hand sanitiser and hardcore hygiene supervision, cinemas across the world are opening up and ensuring the safety of anyone brave enough to buy a ticket. My experience at Cineworld today proved this, staff everywhere were wearing masks and cleaning everything in sight. Both the foyer and the auditorium, however, were empty. I was one of four people in a huge screen, and I couldn’t help but feel that people are missing out. This is a film which constantly makes you ask — how? Not just in plot, but with the brute force and magnitude of the practical effects, the heat practically radiating off of the images. One thing I noticed which coincides perfectly, is the unintentional symbolism in the amount of face/gas-masks that appear throughout, giving off an eerie paradox to the viewer. As I stared up at John David Washington, masks strapped firmly to both my face and his, I couldn’t help but get a shiver, as if the film saw me, saw us and our experiences, travelling at light-speed through space and time. It was good to be back.

“Don’t try to understand it, just feel it.”

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