Tenet

Tenet ★★★★

With "Tenet", Christopher Nolan has practically outdone himself, for better & worse, crafting his most accomplished spectacle yet while arguably also making for some of his most perplexing storytelling. It's an imperfect, yet immaculate visual wonder in every way that only a filmmaker like Nolan can clearly make.

This is a film that is so consistently fast paced, and has so much going on, almost a little too much. It's not that I'd say it's overcrowded per say, just that the film (and therefore Nolan himself) can feel so many steps ahead its own audience that the film rarely stops to give you the viewer a breather. If you can't keep up with the film, then that's just too bad. In a way, I appreciate this aspect, as it's a typical technique Nolan uses that only he seems able to make work, but even I can admit, this makes some of that first half especially difficult to comprehend. Luckily, I felt the film definitely became a lot clearer as it moves along, even though yes multiple viewings is most certainly mandatory. Much like his past films with "Inception" or "Interstellar" just to name a few, I only can imagine how even more rewarding those new viewings will likely feel.

Regardless for all the narrative imperfections, it should come as to no surprise that Nolan just about makes up for it with crafting one of the most exhilarating and sheer breathtaking spectacle I've seen in well maybe ever. Each technical frame of this film, whether it's Hoyte van Hoytema's flawless cinematography work that is for sure to make him a front runner for the Oscar this year or one spectacular action set-piece after another, is no doubt a masterfully crafted piece of filmmaking that absolutely demands to be seen on the biggest screen imaginable just like yes Nolan himself always intends. Whether it's the jaw dropping, unforgettable opening, or the spectacular highway chase, the action in this film is just all around so impeccably crafted, and I'd go as far as to say it even rivals anything Nolan has done before in his past films, the work done here is that next level. And Ludwig Goransson's heart pounding & memorizing score might just as well win him yet another Oscar, it essentially becomes a character in the film. As for the sound design I've seen many criticize as being too loud and making the dialogue thus all the more difficult to comprehend, I'd say similar to the film's narrative issues, it's an issue that for whatever reason became a lot less of one for me personally as the film progressed. I guess for me I simply got used to it and went along with the flow.

The character work is less than stellar, but luckily this cast is just filled with so much movie star power that it really does help overcome the lack of depth. John David Washington is literally the embodiment of cool in this film, completely bad-ass with so much charisma, and just further solidifies himself as such a super star in the makings. Speaking of super stars, Robert Pattinson is also very much one, I almost wish he had just a little more to do, but for what he has, he's a total scene stealer with practically untouchable level of charisma. Imagine still not thinking this guy is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest actors of his generation? Couldn't possibly be me. The wonderful Elizabeth Debicki is just marvelous here carrying much of the film's emotional weight on her shoulders, as it definitely feels she has the most to work with in terms of character growth and I really liked the chemistry between her & Washington. Kenneth Branagh is Kenneth Branagh here and that is most certainly not a bad thing, because the man just chews up the scenery here in the villain role. It's not exactly the most memorable of villain characters, but Branagh brings more than enough gravitas to the role here that makes you certainly hate this guy's guts. It was nice seeing Himesh Patel pop up for a smaller role here too.

The bottom line here is that no Nolan's latest is not flawless by any means, nor his very best by a long shot. It is a bit overly complex for its own good at times, and almost moves at too quick of a pace (despite being about 2 and a half hours, it doesn't feel like that at all), but with all that being said, it more than makes up for these flaws in being the unforgettable & rewarding theatrical experience that only a director like him can deliver upon. It's a relentlessly entertaining, stunning, and yes mind binding film from a filmmaker whom still very much feels to be at the peak of his career. Nolan continues to prove he's obsessed with time, and much like the majority of his films, I imagine time will treat "Tenet" very well for sure. I very much look forward to dissecting it and discussing with others, while also hopefully getting the chance to see it again on a big screen in the near future.

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