A Warner Bros Picture, Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan.
When it comes to movies in 2020, there is simply no competition when it comes to the most talked about, it is Tenet. The main reason for this is that throughout the entire pandemic the Warner Bros release, spearheaded very much by director Christopher Nolan, has been the film determined to release as soon as cinemas re-open, with much controversy.
However, that is a huge discussion for another post, and this review will take an objective look at the film. Chris Nolan is unquestionably the biggest name director in the world when it comes to the box office, and along with the likes of Tarantino and now someone like Jordan Peele, he is the only one who can deliver major box office from original films just due to his name attached.
‘Tenet’ feels like the most ‘Nolan’ movie he has ever made, and that is both a good and bad thing. Looking at the positives, it is a stunning looking film with a huge scale and a narrative ambition that is almost unmatched. These are the sort of things that have always set Nolan apart from the pack and have made him arguably the biggest director in the world.
However, in this film, many of the usually small criticisms of Nolan all seem to come together. The plot is unnecessarily confusing and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve just watched a great puzzle unfold, you feel slightly like you have been tricked.
Another issue that others have raised is the sound mixing, and how it is just such an aggressively loud movie that you can’t actually hear some of the dialogue. This isn’t like Dunkirk where the deafening sound feels necessary and adds to the film, this time it is a hinderance.
As for the cast, Elizabeth Debicki is a brilliant actress but very much gets stuck in the ‘Nolan wife’ role and Kenneth Branagh does his best but is playing a very stereotypical villain.
The film is at its best when it is ‘The Protagonist’ and ‘Neil’ interacting, and that is very much due to the men who are playing them, John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, respectively.
Washington is very much the films lead, and even though his character isn’t even given a name, everything plays out through him and Washington delivers. It isn’t the greatest written character but Washington instils enough charm and physical power into the role that you buy him as a suave special agent ready to save the world.
However, the beat role and performance in the film film is the hilariously named ‘Neil’ played by Robert Pattinson. He is a co-lead but pops in and out of the story at times, and the film is much better when he is involved. Pattinson plays the role as though he is living out Chris Nolan’s spy dreams, and the character has that sense of meta joy to him. It’s undeniable at this point that Robert Pattinson is one of the best and most interesting movie stars in Hollywood.
Overall, it is probably one of the weakest films Nolan has made, but it is still admirable in its scale and ambition, and it’s unfortunate that the film has been the canary in the pandemic coal mine.
Rating = 3.5/5