Tenet

Tenet ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Honestly if someone had told me going into this that this was a big budget parody of a Christopher Nolan film I would've believed them.

I went into this film mildly apprehensive, it was the first time I've been to the cinema in nearly 9 months and so I was praying that this film would scratch the cinema itch that I've been unable to satisfy for nearly a year now. That being said unfortunately, this film was a disappointment. Within the first 15 minutes I had already missed several conversations due to some of the muddiest sound mixing from a modern film I've heard since... the last Nolan feature I watched in cinema. Not that this was a major issue because all the first hour of the film is, is watching an unnamed individual jump around the world having different conversations with different people for reasons that aren't made remotely clear to you until after you've finished watching. There were times in this film where I felt like I was watching a collection of stunts with 20 minutes of convoluted plot in between to link them.

The dialogue in this film is at best passable and at worst downright corny. Not that dialogue has ever been Nolan's strong point but listening to the protagonist awkwardly quip that a security guard should buy him dinner first might as well have come straight from a marvel movie. Speaking of the protagonist, as good a job as John David Washington does in the lead role, there was a complete lack of any chemistry between his character and Elizabeth Debicki's which made it all the more difficult to understand so many of the decisions he made throughout the film on the basis of protecting her. Debicki also delivered possibly the most laughable line of "Including my son?" when confronted with the notion that the entire world was going to end. Once again affirming that Nolan is seems genuinely incapable of writing a woman as anything more than a mother or a love interest.

That being said, this film is absolutely spectacular. Once the hours worth of exposition has been completed you're greeted by some absolutely fantastic set-pieces which can only be appreciated properly on the big screen. As well as that, watching the film fulfill its inverted concept is fascinating and extremely satisfying. Ludwig Göransson's soundtrack is fantastic even if it is overpowering at times and Robert Pattinson continues his ascent from indie darling to fully fledged movie star, an incredible journey considering his twilight beginnings as he displays a fantastic amount of charisma and a surprising amount of chemistry with David J Washington.

This is the first of Nolan's films which hasn't been edited by Lee Smith since Insomnia which was almost 20 years ago now and it really shows. Tenet is not a new film for Nolan, he's been writing high-concept time based screenplays his whole career and yet this is the first one where I felt a disconnect between myself and the film. The editing is a major reason for this. Jennifer Lame is a fantastic editor as shown in Marriage Story but she has no experience editing a blockbuster, high-concept action film and it shows.

Ultimately I feel that maybe this was the film that pushed Christopher Nolan's love of time too far. He's never been able to reach the heights of Memento but I've thoroughly enjoyed every film he's released until now. Tenet is still an incredible cinema experience but is let down by a multitude of issues, maybe on rewatch I'll appreciate the first hours worth of exposition.

Final thoughts: The most Christopher Nolan of Christopher Nolan films.

Will liked this review