Review: Tenet (2020)

Christopher Nolan once again delivers a movie which makes you leave the cinema with more questions than you went in and I say that with the deepest respect to one of the genuine legends of modern cinema.

PLOT AND STORY

John David Washington journeys through a world of espionage in hope of saving mankind armed only with one word ‘Tenet’. As we learnt from the trailers our protagonists are able to shape and alter time and it is our main protagonists journey in learning these rules which we follow. I always deliver my reviews spoiler free which is why I can’t really say much more about the story itself. 

Christopher Nolan is a master at writing stories which really twist with your head and this might be his masterpiece. At two and a half hours the pace never let’s up. The opening minutes are a fast, chest pumping action sequence and it feels like each scene feeds off the last which contributes heavily to why at the end of the movie most people in the cinema took a few minutes to catch their breath before leaving. 

There are some predictable moments which you see coming a mile away but then just when you think you have something figured out the story will take a 180 degree turn and flip it back on itself. I found this to make me question what was round the next corner and in turn makes those predictable moments seem less predictable.

Nolan has a style in his scripts and story which is easily identified by layering factual and complicated subject matter in with common language allowing the audience to understand what something means without always knowing why or how.

CAST

A star studded cast with some familiar faces from previous Nolan movies. John David Washington is the lead and after starring in Blackkklansman he is really becoming the superstar leading man. He has the gravitas and persona of his father Denzel while still holding his own style. Playing off Washington was our soon to be Batman actor Robert Pattinson who plays Neil. I have been an advocate long before The Batman news was announced and his performance here shows the world just how good he can be. A young but incredibly talented actor who feels like he has been in the wilderness since the Twilight saga ended but in fact has been mastering his craft in movies like The Lost City of Z, Good Time and Life. 

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Debicki, Clemence Posey, Fiona Dourif and Himesh Patel rounds out a young and diverse cast filled with up and coming stars who already have some big roles and movies under their belts. Adding to that names like Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh shows just how deep the credits role and how much class there is given to every character we meet.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION

Within the first 3 minutes I could tell this was a Nolan movie by the sheer tone, speed and score. I was certain this was a Hans Zimmer score as there is a hostage scene which was so reminiscent of the famous football field scene in The Dark Knight Rises but I was shocked to learn it was actually Ludwig Goransson who composed the score for Tenet. I hope Goransson can see that as a compliment.

Many of the moments which start to increase in speed had me thinking how only Nolan makes movies like this. Some of the shots and the angles make this film feel very personal at times as we spend a lot of time very close to our characters. Part of this may have been due to the amount of masks and face coverings our cast are wearing which brings my only criticism to the movie. At times it’s very hard to understand what is being said because of this but I respect Nolan’s vision and sticking with it.

Tenet is a real globetrotting movie taking us to multiple locations and every time we see some breathtaking views and potential Oscar nominations coming to Hoyte Van Hoytema the cinematographer who worked with Nolan previously on Dunkirk and Interstella.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

Tenet is a fantastic movie which is the exact type of movie cinemas needed to get people back after Covid-19. It’s very difficult to summarise what category this movie falls into because it’s not just a spy movie, it’s not your typical science fiction and it’s not simply action, drama or thriller. Tenet is all of the above and more. Tenet will mess with your head, it will make you think about it for days after and it will blow you away with some crazy action and a fabulous cast. If all the above sounds like your kind of movie then like me I think people will love Tenet.

I watched this at Vue cinema and received no incentive to review this movie.

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