Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh
It is the morning after the night before and the effects of the IMAX screening of Tenet are still with me.
What did I experience, who is Tenet, when is Tenet, what is Tenet?
Honestly, I’m not sure I can answer any of those questions.
I am now staring at the keyboard and wondering how does one review such a film, where do you even start?
I shouldn’t even try to explain the plot in fear of spoilers and ruining all the secrecy surrounding this long-awaited film.
With the hype even before the global pandemic, Tenet was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year.
As the crisis got worst the film kept getting pushed back and fans hope of catching Christopher Nolan’s latest effort on the biggest of all screens were fading.
Thankfully, cinemas across the country have slowly reopened and a hefty weight has been placed on Tenet’s shoulders to try to bring the masses back to the movies and put bums back on seats.
Is Tenet worth a trip to the cinema?
The first question has to be, is it worth it?
The answer to that is up to you. For me, it is a ‘Yes’.
Tenet is a must-see film on the biggest screen you can get to and the loudest sound system you can find (preferably an IMAX screen).
Tenet does what great films want to achieve.
It delivers from all aspects. It’s entertaining and grips the audience from the start to the very end.
The cast are all excellent and there isn’t a weak link between them.
The score from Ludwig Göransson is outstanding and the film itself sits with you whether you want it or not.
You will be scratching your head for days trying to figure it all out, so much so a second viewing will be needed.
What’s Tenet about?
So, what is it all about? Very briefly (and from what I can understand) Tenet is a spy espionage tale of sorts that spans across time.
John David Washington’s character who is referred to as ‘The Protagonist’ has to prevent the end of the world whilst globetrotting to a number of different locations.
Along on the ride is Robert Pattinson’s character who is quite simply named ‘Neil’, he is a fixer of sorts.
Kenneth Branagh is Andrei Sator, the big bad guy who is the reason behind the whole plot.
Elizabeth Debicki fills out the rest of the main cast as Sator’s tormented wife Kat.
Each character is superbly cast. Washington is cool, calm and collected but is also a dab hand at the brutal fights and huge sets pieces.
Pattinson continues to shine and strangely, here he is the comic relief.
Branagh is clearly having a whale of a time and brings true grit and terror to a role which could have been just another token Eastern European bad guy.
Elizabeth Debicki shines bright and thankfully is given a lot to do apart from just being a damsel in distress.
Will Christopher Nolan fans like the movie?
Tenet is token Nolan; fans of his will be pleased, but this won’t bring his negative critics around.
It feels like his whole career has been coming to this point, this film; from Memento to Interstellar he has been learning his craft and getting to a place where he is able to fulfil his aspirations.
Christopher Nolan somehow makes films that are audience-friendly but are also incredibly diverse and challenging.
It’s a balance that very few filmmakers can achieve, let alone be given a chance, by a massive studio with hundreds of millions of dollars to make them.
To make a film like this, one which is very frustrating and hard to follow but somehow engaging and captivating is solely down to his craft.
I found myself being completely lost for large portions of the runtime but for some reason or another still be absolutely glued to my seat. There is a lot of dialogue so listen carefully.
Key plot points come thick and fast.
Truthfully, I could have done with subtitles at some points.
This is a loud film and some of the dialogue gets lost by the sheer volume of the action, sound mix and Göransson’s bombastic score.
At one point Clémence Poésy’s ‘Laura’ tells Washington’s character simply “don’t try to understand it” and that is great advice.
Some payoffs and answers do come in the grand finale but a lot is left to you to figure out and understand.
Is it the cinematic experience we were all waiting for?
Tenet is hugely ambitious and is a cinematic marvel for so many reasons. I
t’s a film which treats its audience with respect and intelligence. It’s a summer blockbuster with brains and brawn.
It also reiterates why the cinema experience is so magical and so important.
The scale of the film demands for it to be seen on the big screen (IMAX if humanely possible).
I have missed the feeling a film like this could give.
Its return is very welcome.
IMAX® tickets are now on sale for Warner Bros. Pictures’ Tenet available here: https://www.tenetfilmtickets.co.uk/?format=imax&campaign=imax
What do you make of this review?
Are you looking forward to seeing Tenet on the big screen?
Let us know in the comments below.