Tenet

Tenet ★★★★

A meaningless and absurdly intricate contraption of a film. It feels like a movie made by an undercover alien sent to infiltrate hollywood, or an AI that took over a movie studio. It's technically beautiful. It's extremely cool. It's completely out of touch with what it means to be human. It's deeply in touch with the fundamentals of our movie-going desires. 

Characters here are empty vessels for narrative puzzles and action. The only plot line that actually involved character development -- the Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh relationship -- is easily the worst part of the movie. God awful. But, fortunately, it's so nonsensical I easily tuned it out, and instead just thought about how confused I was by the plot... The plot (and the hard-to-hear rapid exposition) is absurd, to the point that it must be intentional, made to make you watch action scenes close enough to try to figure out what is happening, but which incidentally makes you watch close enough to see how gorgeously constructed they are.

I think sometimes the exposition is more about how it sounds to HEAR them describe the plot than the actual plot... Just the sounds of it scratch all our narrative hopes for pacing and closure and questions and twists. It's amazing how genre allows us to "understand" what's happening in a movie even if we don't actually understand the plot at all...

John David Washington brings a strange amount of humanness to this inhuman script. The character is so weirdly written that it's hit or miss, but he is very good, and truly special in action scenes. How do you even act this role?  His character's lines are some combination of easily translatable phrases for target international markets, a marketing team fishing for memorable lines, and, most importantly, the lines an eight year old has his action figures say... It's crazy that this works, but it so often does.

Tenet fully embraces the dorky emptiness of Nolan. This movie is deeply entertaining in a  "being-an-eleven-year-old-at-the-movie-theater" sort of way. I never get that from blockbusters these days.

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