Tenet

Tenet

It's difficult to know where to start with Tenet as it doesn't seem to know where it starts with itself. I was reminded at first when watching this of Ernst Bloch's statement to the effect of Marxism being a kind of detective work: that understanding the social bases responsible for and veiled under a blanket of ideology requires analyses that step outside the realm of the here-and-now, and, likewise, take as their aim the discovery of traces of the past that affect the present. But it soon becomes clear - during the second half - that Nolan is not using the discovery-of-information-along-the-course-of-a-narrative typical to the spy genre in order to investigate the difficulty in revealing social causes-and-effects (though the set-up may well allude to this and altogether fail at capitalising on this discussion of the interaction of technology, politics and the past) because he decides to outright reject all of it in favour of a purely sensationalist, affective thrill-ride of a film, whose 'reveals' reveal nothing more than an ouroboros of plot points and characters' involvement within them. Disappointing, to say the least. And this says nothing of the place that the film concludes at, which seems to only affirm a fatalistic view of events, albeit one that does not preclude 'action'. Yet, if I am interpreting this correctly (forgive me, for Nolan truly is trying his hardest to obscure the exact details of the plot), this means that all of the events of the film happened the way they did because, in the future, they had already happened in this same way; and so we are left with the knowledge that this climate-change-devastated-future-so-terrible-that-its-inhabitants-are-willing-to-potentially-destroy-the-world-in-order-to-stop-it-from-happening (1) will still come about, and (2) is inevitable. If ever we needed proof that simply playing with scientific concepts and theories does not necessarily make a film 'intellectual', we have found it here. In fact, Tenet is patently anti-intellectual. Ultimately, the film is a zero-sum game, and about the complete opposite of what Bloch said of Marxism. I'm sad to say that it seems much more interested in the accuracy of its physics than the implications of its narrative.

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