For the first time in 2020, I got to see a release from this year in a movie theater and it felt great. The movie theater experience is an aspect of my life I appreciate the most because it is a true getaway from reality. Your phone is shut off for two+ hours and you get to watch entertainment on a giant screen.
Tenet is the 12th film from director Christopher Nolan. Look, the man does not need an introduction anymore. If you love film in the 21st century, you know that Nolan is a legend with films like The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Dunkirk.
This is going to be a spoiler-free review, so it is going to be on the shorter side from a plot perspective because giving away any part of the plot will spoil the film for you. So here you go: Tenet follows a man who only goes by “The Protagonist” and he is on a mission, which involves time. I’ll leave you with that.
“The Protagonist” is played by John David Washington, who we have seen previously in the highly-acclaimed BlacKkKlansman.
Every performance in this film is excellent. Washington is great, Robert Pattinson’s character is excellent, but the heart and soul of this film is Elizabeth Debicki as Kat Sator. She plays the estranged wife of the movie’s villain, played by Kenneth Branagh, and her story revolves around being trapped by her husband and trying to find a way to free herself from an emotional standpoint. She’s incredible in this role and displays the best acting throughout the film. My one flaw with this movie is that there is no emotional investment in Pattinson or Washington’s characters. The stakes are high throughout but you don’t care much when bad things happen to them.
The best aspects of this movie come on the technical side. The writing, the editing and the score are A+.
Nolan also wrote the film and this is easily his most complex film. This is where the casual moviegoer may be turned off by this film. Nothing is spoon-fed at any point of this film. There are explanations and theories that make up most of our dialogue. You have to be able to pay attention to what is being said in order to get a grasp of this film. If you can’t do that and want to just scarf popcorn down your throat, then you are going to be lost. Make sure you use the restroom prior because if you leave at any point, nothing is going to make sense to you.
Give this film all the editing awards. I won’t say much because it will also tack on to the spoiler side of things but the way the third act plays out is some of the best, most mind-boggling action I’ve seen play out on a big screen. It is really something to behold and something we may never see again. A huge shoutout and props to Jennifer Lame (Hereditary, Manchester by the Sea) are definitely deserved here.
Ludwig Göransson, at only 36 years of age, is going to be the most sought-after composer in the film industry. He’s worked with artists like Childish Gambino for his albums and he has done scores for Black Panther, the Creed films and the Disney+ show The Mandalorian. Each piece in this film captures the intensity and the risks being taken by our characters. I already have the entire soundtrack saved to my phone.
This is special film, and the perfect re-launch of movie theaters across the world. Film is making a serious run as my top passion, which is saying a lot because if you know me, you know my love for sports. But after seeing this film, I can say it’s neck-and-neck on which I am more passionate about.
If you have a theater near you that is open, Tenet is can’t miss.