Tenet

Tenet ★★★★★

A third of the way through I thought to myself that (despite the lack of competition) this was probably going to be the best movie-going experience of the year; two thirds of the way through I thought this could potentially end up being the best movie-going experience of the still young decade; as I was walking out of the theatre I had little doubt that this was the greatest movie-going experience I've ever had. Underneath my mask I had a smile on my face for most of the movie just in sheer utter enjoyment at what I was experiencing and I was literally leaning forward in my seat in anticipation of what would come next.

As for the film itself I can only say so much because everyone should get to experience this for themselves -- suffice it to say it's some of the most original conceptual cinema I've ever seen. I honestly don't know if I'd even be able to articulate anything at this point especially as I'm still in a post-viewing comedown of awestruck wonder. Just a vague thought about Nolan I'm having: while a lot of great filmmakers have recognized the importance of cinema being a time- and space-based medium, I don't know of a filmmaker who has come to make that fact the very essence of their work as Nolan has; what fascinates me with Nolan is that although he is interested in these high concepts which one might say you could only see in the movies, a kind of "magic of the movies" idea, he is equally interested in the mechanical aspect of cinema -- just as he is interested in the mechanics of the world. (I think, perhaps, that Nolan's insistence on film/theatrical can be traced to this interest and investment in mechanics.)

Nolan might get dismissed as someone who primarily makes entertainment rather than serious art, might get called a "puzzle-box filmmaker" or whatever, but I think that's a part of what makes him special -- his relationship to the medium is both serious and playful, he knows what the cinema allows him to do so he has fun with it, plays with what it allows him to do with time. But it's not just a game, because Nolan takes the concept and makes it into something with relevance to the world. It's why to me Interstellar and Dunkirk are some of the most moving films of recent times while having their foundation in abstract concepts re: time. Tenet is no exception: there's a line that Pattinson's character says towards the end that moved me to tears and brought everything together in such a beautiful and moving way.

Basically, Tenet is the film where Nolan reveals his love of physics once and for all and in that love displays the profound beauty of those physics for our world. And in doing that, he turns physics into metaphysics -- and displays a faith in reality that is frankly disarmingly beautiful if understood correctly.

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