Tenet

Tenet ★★★★

I'm either incredibly smart or incredibly stupid, because I didn't find it to be even slightly confusing, and I'm not even sure if I understand what about it is meant to be confusing. It's literally color-coded to make things as easy on us as possible.

I will say that, with this film, Christopher Nolan has pretty much officially announced that he does not actually care about character or story (though he does care about story structure), and since as both a viewer and a critic, I don't care about those things either, that frequently made this feel like it was tailor-made for me. This is basically a feature-length celebration of constant forward momentum, exhilarating and exhausting, all the way down to how individual cuts seem about three frames too fast. It probably doesn't need to be 150 minutes to put that across, but I will say this: it is a swift and short 150 minutes.

The furious cycling through time is worked out quite cleverly through compositions that balance other compositions way on the other side of the film, and through Ludwig Göransson's terrific score (which uses backmasking to situate us in the plot much in the way that Inception used tempo and volume), though I don't think the cleverness is the point for us so much as it was the point for Christopher Nolan. This isn't really a Primer-style puzzle to solve; it's more like a time-loop themed roller coaster where we're asked to take it on faith that everything works out and just enjoy the ride. And I did, very much.

Still trying to decide how much of the film's theoretical musings on subjectivity as it relates to the flow of time are The Point versus how much that's just window dressing to class up what is otherwise a very long, unrelenting chase scene, and trying to decide as well how much I actually care about that. I do feel about 90% certain that I'm going to bump it up a half-star after a second viewing (I haven't had this much fun watching a Nolan movie since The Prestige), but I will let sanity prevail for now.

(Full review at Alternate Ending)

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