Tenet ★★★

To watch Tenet is to find yourself in a speeding car hurtling down a road at 100mph with no idea how you got there. You know there had to have been a sequence of actions that led you to the hair-raising situation you’re now in, but you simply can’t ever remember putting the key in the ignition. And then suddenly you’re on a different road, and another, and another, and you grip the steering wheel as hard as you can, even though it’s moving on its own and you couldn’t change its course if you tried.

Inception is a complicated movie. Ellen Page’s chatacter is an obvious audience surrogate — asking the questions that help us understand what in the fuck this might all be about, and how it works. In Interstellar, exposition in scientific dialogue helps explain what’s happening. Both are dense movies that give me headaches when I think about them too hard, but the difference between Tenet and the two films I’ve just mentioned is that only one of them sacrifices heart and connection for complex timey wimey stuff.

The set pieces in Tenet are spellbinding. The fact they were mostly achieved by clever editing and direction is absolutely inspirational. To behold it is to see a director and his crew prove they’re at the top of their game. It’s very cool. But it’s just cool.

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