Tenet

Tenet ★★★★½

Tenet is sensory overload of the highest degree. There's so much to take in on one viewing, and while I did a pretty good job following the film, even predicting a huge reveal very early on, it is a lot. It's a very complex film and one that packs its 150-minute runtime with so much that the film is constantly moving and giving you new data to piece everything together. This is not a complaint, as it makes for an exhilarating rush of adrenaline where you have to pay attention to every single aspect, but it truly is a film designed for two viewings, because once you have the film figured out things will flow much better and any part of the film you might have been a bit lost in before will become infinitely more exciting, even if it was already fantastic the first go around.

Tenet truly is one of the more ambitious blockbusters I've seen, and probably Nolan's best film since Inception. The film is a visual marvel and the action sequences Nolan creates here are absolutely mind-blowing at times. The fight choreography mixed with the time manipulation aspect of the film makes this one of the most unique action films I've seen possibly ever, and it is a wild rush and a wonder to behold in that regard. Nolan's story is also so fresh, and while it may contain a fair amount of familiar elements, his script helps it feel wholly unique and tailor-made to this world he has created. He also just sort of throws you into said world and expects you to catch up, which was refreshing for a big blockbuster such as this.

The cast is also remarkable. John David Washington proves without the shadow of a doubt here that he is a star and can carry a big action movie, while Robert Pattinson steals every scene he's in with his charisma and turns in possibly the best performance in the film. Kenneth Branagh gives one of his better performances in recent memory and makes for a fun and menacing villain. Elizabeth Debicki is also very good here and gives the film a lot of its emotional resonance.

Now, while I did love my time with this film, and it is one of my favorites of the year thus far, that isn't to say I have no problems with the film because I do. The sound mixing here isn't very good sometimes. See, as we all know, Nolan loves the scores in his film to be bombastic, and while for the most part that works in favor of the film, the mixing of the score and the dialogue can be a bit poor to where it can be hard to hear some of the dialogue. It wasn't too big of an issue, but there were times where I couldn't quite make out what a character was saying because the score was overriding the dialogue in the scene. There was also a moment in the film where Robert Pattinson's character asked a question that it is shown later he already knows the answer to and it felt very much like Nolan just needed to get this piece of information to the audience, and it took me out of the film a bit because otherwise the film doesn't really hold your hand and expects you to keep up with it. There also isn't much in the way of characterization in the film, and while I expected that going in and it didn't really bother me, as the plot was so engrossing, it should be noted that you don't get a whole lot of time to get to know the characters. Thankfully, the performances do a lot of heavy lifting in that department and give their characters a likable personality so you still want to follow them on this complex journey.

But with all of that being said, I think Tenet is fantastic. It's one of Nolan's more complex and ambitious films, and one I was consistently riveted by and am really excited to see again. One of the year's best for sure.
GRADE: A-

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