Tenet

Tenet ★★★

*Disclaimer: I've only seen Tenet once. My feelings may change on second viewing.

Lesser Nolan for me at this present point. It's easy to criticize Tenet for being needlessly complicated, and the majority of its time inversion concept is actually handled rather gracefully; Nolan just understands how to use the camera as an actual calculator, he is just such a great directing mathematician. Where his script falters for me is actually in the first third, regarding its spy/espionage setup, which is borderline incomprehensible (at least upon first viewing). It just all moves at such a pace that completely disregards the establishment of character motiviations.

And this is my biggest gripe with Tenet - character. By simply naming our lead character "The Protagonist", Nolan seems to be attempting what he did with Dunkirk, creating a faceless experience where we project ourselves into the unimaginable fears of deliberately faceless characters. That approach works in Dunkirk, but in Tenet I feel it completely collapses on itself; if this is your goal, then why give other characters (such as Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh) such specific arcs? As far as character is concerned, Nolan should've just picked a lane, rather than create an experience that is meant to be both faceless and face-ful(?).

But I'm still obligated to recommend this movie; it's too well made, so inventive, and quite simply we need to push for more original content made at this grand of a scale. The back half of Tenet, when it fully embraces its sci-fi concept, is good fun.

Ludwig Göransson's score is great as a Hans Zimmer impression; I guess I'm not as high on the score as everyone else seems to be.

Brendan liked this review