Tenet

Tenet ★★½

A tantalizing puzzle-box of a movie with some ingenious ideas for action, but I struggled to find a way into either its complicated narrative or its cipher-like characters. The information payload of each exposition dump left my memory as soon as words were uttered, as if they were themselves susceptible to the film's inversion conceit. Possibly, I might have understood the film better before I watched it. Or maybe it just plays better in its original form, the flowchart.

With narrative and character receding to abstractness, what's left is spectacle, and while I can't deny scenes such as the one with commandos dodging reverse explosions are professionally crafted, I watched them in a state of bemusement, with little understanding of situation or objective and absolutely no emotional involvement.

(Take the above as tentative. I'd like to revisit the film at some point in an environment more conducive to close attention. At the drive-in, far from the screen and in the midst of a high-comedy performance of 'who will turn their headlights on next', it's hard to get the most out of a movie, especially one as intricate as this.)

2.7/5

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