Tenet ★★★½

“We’re the people saving the world from what might have been.”

Christopher Nolan is a witch. I’m going to try to keep my review simple because my brain is still scrambled and trying to reorient.


• At times, Tenet stimulated the same parts of my brain that The Matrix did. It’s not as good as that movie, but the technical aspects give the same sense of marvel and wonder. Each setpiece and action scene gives you a little more and a little more until you’re being almost overwhelmed by everything happening. If Inception went three layers deep, Tenet goes five. It’s audacious and it expects the audience to keep up.

• At the same time, I felt so mentally overstimulated by the end that while I do want to see it again, it won’t be anytime soon. Tenet is not too smart for it’s own good or anything like that, this is a summer blockbuster at heart. There’s just so much happening constantly, often in opposite pairs, that my brain was getting so much necessary information and trying to follow it all. Maybe this isn’t really a pro, but I don’t see it as a con either. 

• The central concept hooked me and hooked me hard. 

• The frequent action scenes are always welcome and Washington shines in them with the same ease that Matt Damon did in the Bourne films. 


• MacGuffins aren’t a big deal but Tenet centers itself around the most MacGuffin-y of MacGuffins and 2 hours in I couldn’t be bothered to care.

• There’s a subplot that attempts to make you care about some of the characters on a personal level and invest in them beyond the overall plot of the movie, and it felt forced to me. The characters as a whole felt very flat. Pattinson does the most to give his character some kind of discernible personality, while Washington is okay but he’s really not asked to do much beyond be somber and confident.

• The sound mixing truly is awful. It seems made for premium theater experiences, and on standard setups the dialogue is muffled while the sound effects and music is overpowering. There were a few times I had to plug my ears for a moment during big action scenes just to get a little relief. 

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