Tenet (2020) Review. Will it save cinema?
Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real-time.
Christopher Nolan’s most complicated story yet. Inception was complex with its layering of dreams, Dunkirk with its time manipulation and Memento with its manipulation of narrative Tenet was the most complex of all. Without giving anything away I am going to try and explain what happens with the time in this movie. It is something that I have never seen before and was refreshing, really confusing to start with but definitely refreshing and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before. However, I do have a criticism of this movie… it is, for the first hour at least, too complex. I had no idea what was going on really and even with the expositional dialogue that was meant to help me understand the world, I really struggled to get a grip on what was going on. It made me sit and question whether I was actually enjoying this movie. But, after the hour it all started to click and I did begin to understand the world that Nolan was creating with this story and it then became very highly satisfying. It is not a film you can just casually go watch but is one that requires a lot of attention.
The exposition at times really left me feeling confused sometimes but it was excellently acted John David Washington’s performance was brilliant and I could really see him as the new James Bond he managed to bring so much calmness and was so enigmatic with his character as ‘the protagonist’ that worked really well and that kept me in the dark about his character. The best performances though come not from him but come from Kenneth Branagh, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki.
Elizabeth’s character Kat had the strongest character arc and her performance I very much felt a sense of helplessness and that her character was really trapped. Robert Pattinson really shines in his role and Kenneth Branagh as a Russian was so convincing and didn’t distract me at all I fully believe he sounded very Russian. He made an excellent villain and it wasn’t a villain I ever thought I needed.
The effects of this movie were really interesting to witness my favourite was probably watching a building explode and then rebuild to then explode again was brilliant to watch. It was honestly amazing to witness fight scenes and they were such an experience that I can even decide whether I liked it or not. It was amazing to watch however but I’m not sure whether I liked it.
The usual collaboration of Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer was absent for this movie as there was a schedule crossover and Zimmer couldn’t get involved. So, Nolan turned to Oscar-winner Ludwig Goransson. Having previously worked on Black Panther and I personally loved the soundtrack for that. Watching Tenet, I went in assuming it was Hans Zimmer as the composer and I didn’t know it wasn’t him. Ludwig’s soundtrack was amazing and the music being in reverse sometimes really works and lifts the story. The soundtrack was so loud and I am so glad I got to experience it in IMAX. One criticism I do have is that sometimes the music was blaring so loud that I couldn’t hear the dialogue sometimes and in a movie that is so complex and full of important dialogue I needed to hear what was going on. Don’t get me wrong it made that movie feel epic but for me, I just wanted to hear what the dialogue was sometimes as I felt like I missed something and it took me a few minutes to catch up.
I really enjoyed this movie and is a great movie for Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan to add to their ever-growing roster. Is it his strongest? I don’t believe so; I think Dunkirk is head over heels his finest work but it is still a great movie. It is just a bit too complex but, in the end, highly rewarding and I recommend you go watch it at the cinema.
I rate this movie 4/5.