Review for Tenet
A CIA Agent known as ‘The Protagonist’ after a failed missed joins a secret organization known as ‘Tenet’. Upon being shown bullets that appear to have come from the future he must now follow the clues to find out who is behind it all.
I will be brutally honest and say that the above description is possibly the best I could do to explain this film. Personally, it should just be ‘This is a Christopher Nolan film which is multiple well-choreographed action/fight scenes, a number of talking scenes, a cool hero/menacing villain and a plot that would take a thousand word essay to explain’.
My head actually hurts thinking about this film and though I enjoyed it, I am not actually sure why. It is true that the action scenes throughout, which Nolan has been perfecting over the last two decades, are wonderful and if there was anyone who could film this type of film and make it look the it does it could only be Nolan. I would not be surprised if he is nominated for Best Director as the film looks amazing and despite the complex plot it does not feel like a long film and instead is paced pitch perfect. It is a shame that we will never see Nolan direct Daniel Craig in a Bond movie as I feel this could almost be the template from which you could work from.
The acting is what you would expect, with a great ensemble cast. John David Washington oozes charisma as the Protagonist and he was just wonderful throughout. Most surprising was the performance by Robert Pattinson who I feel has been spending the last decade trying to make up for all the ill-will from the Twilight movies. His performance as Neil, a kind of Q to the Protagonist’s Bond is just a wonderful dynamic and I enjoyed their interactions throughout.
Kenneth Branagh as the evil Andrei Sator feels a little wasted in the film if I am honest and there is a running thing of him checking his pulse which I thought was going to have a point, but ultimately didn’t go anywhere. Finally, we have Elizabeth Debicki as Kat, Sator’s wife and it does feel as though she has been playing these ‘Prim and Proper, but downtrodden’ roles for the last few years, but she does it very well.
The film looks and sounds amazing with a score by Ludwig Goransson, who won the Oscar for Black Panther. It was actually surprising to not hear a Hans Zimmer score for once. The effects and look of the film is wonderful and I just wish that by the end of the film I had a clue as to what was going on. It is definitely a film that you will watch more than once and a film you will no doubt have lots of thoughts and theories about as you do.
The lack of extra features is a crime and I feel that even just a Commentary or something to try and explain the process of creating this film would have been great. Instead the film must live or die on its own merits.
Tenet is not Christopher Nolan’s best film (we could argue about whether The Dark Knight, Memento or The Prestige takes that honour), but it is definitely a wonderful piece of work. For those who enjoyed Nolan’s more psychological films like Inception and Interstellar than you will love the mind-bending film that, much like the title you may have to view backwards and forwards to get to grips with how good it is.