Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ is an incredible action thriller full of dazzling set pieces, incredible performances, and a mind-blowing story to go along with it.
The Protagonist (John David Washington) embarks on a dangerous mission to prevent a worldwide catastrophe.
After achieving legendary status in Hollywood with his trademark cerebral blockbusters like The Dark Knight, Inception, and Interstellar, Nolan has seemingly pulled it off once again with ‘Tenet.’ Yes, it is worth mentioning that if you are expecting this film to subvert your expectations by clearly differentiating itself from those other movies, you will be disappointed. ‘Tenet’ is very much part of that bunch. However, if you, like me, have enjoyed and even marveled at those films for years, this is your movie.
Once again, ‘Tenet’ explores in profound ways time and its manipulation, even going one step further by exploring ideas that you would be forgiven if you leave the theater still scrambling for answers. Nevertheless, I found that to be part of Tenet’s charm: at some point, you just sit back and let Nolan take you along for the ride, and in the end, it comes together beautifully. It does admittedly lack some of the emotional depths that made Inception and Interstellar so special, as this film finds the acclaimed director at his most cerebral and cold-hearted. However, strangely enough, I did not find it lacking when its conclusion approached. It might not be as overt with its sentimentality, but I think the subtleness works for the kind of film it is.
Visually, there is not enough one can say about Hoyte Van Hoytema’s fantastic cinematography. While I still consider Interstellar his best work, he does an outstanding job with this film. There are sequences in this film that I cannot understand how they were choreographed and much less filmed even after reflecting on them for hours. That is, in this day and age, a fascinating thing to accomplish. As for the music, an integral part of every Nolan film, Ludwig Göransson works great as a temporal (I hope) replacement of the legendary Hans Zimmer. Like the film, I think the score goes more for a “cool” vibe than a sentimental one like Zimmer usually does, and it took me a while to get used to it. Nevertheless, again, I think it worked for what Nolan was trying to accomplish here.
Acting-wise, Both John David Washington and Robert Pattinson work great as a striking duo, and they are by far one of the most memorable aspects of the film, even if I did hope Washington’s role had been fleshed out a bit more. Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh also shine in two surprisingly prominent roles.
In conclusion, I would say that I would understand completely if this is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, for those who are willing to be immersed by Nolan’s incredible story and visuals, it is nothing short of spectacular.