Christopher Nolan's movie 'Tenet': What is this movie about? – Film Daily

Since for almost as long as Christopher Nolan has been making movies, time itself has been his greatest muse. From the fragmented narrative of Dunkirk to the gun re-entering Leonard’s hand in Memento as the film begins to travel backward (Big time inversion vibes there). Nolan is to time as Kubrick is to hubris and imperfection. Nolan seems horrified by all that time can achieve, whether lost, misplaced, or in the case of Tenet, placed in the wrong hands, but is fascinated by the way it operates, forwards, backward, and every way in between. It can be harnessed, manipulated, and weaponized, but never fully controlled or understood. In his 11th and latest film, time takes center stage and The Protagonist  (John David Washington) is dispatched to figure out what’s going on.  After a roaring setpiece set in an opera house that opens the film, we enter a world of espionage and The Protagonist meets with a scientist, played by Clémence Poésy, who informs him that time can be inverted, sending one backward through a world going in an entirely different direction with objects, whose entropy can also be bent to navigate the inverted world, helping him uncover the key to traversing this new world he’s found himself immersed in. He and another operative named Neil (Robert Pattinson) rendezvous and unfold this web of oligarchs with thick accents, arms dealers, and world-ending stakes all while causing a fair amount of big-budget hijinks (Blowing up 747s, launching up buildings, etc.) along the way.

I’m not going to lie, I was AMPED for Tenet.  I  didn’t think I would see this movie in any capacity for at least a couple months, fortunately, I found a drive-in reasonably close to me showing the film. Tenet is an interesting film to think about and digest, warts and all. As much fun as I had with lighter fare this summer like Eurovision and An American Pickle, it was refreshing to have a movie to dig into this deeply and openly interrogate its flaws because as much as I admire the movie, it certainly has some. The time since I saw it has been split between me going “Oh, that doesn’t make sense and that scene was pretty difficult to follow,” and “OH MY GOD! Remember when they crashed that plane into the hangar. Did you know that was the same guy who flipped the truck in The Dark Knight? Ah, that was awesome!” The grander stakes of Neil and The Protagonist’s mission are easy to grasp as soon as another character drops the threat of mass destruction mid-exposition, the emotional ones don’t hold the same weight. It reminded of me in Inception in that way, a film I have the same problem with, for all the film does to establish the rules of time inversion, it rarely gives the audience anything substantial amongst the characters it introduces to latch on to. Nolan’s work can be overly reserved and distant, even his best films suffer from this flaw to a degree. Elizabeth Debicki plays the wife of the main antagonist and her characterization goes about as far as she has a son. She and Cobb from Inception would get along. I imagine them chatting about their steadfast dedication to seeing their children again. I’m so, so glad I saw this on the big screen, I like its ideas, John David Washington just might be the next great movie star and the score by Ludwig Gorransson rips. Watching Tenet felt strangely similar to the experience of watching the pilot of a TV show. I bought into it and am excited to give it another couple episodes (In this context, viewings.), but I don’t think I quite understand the full hand it’s playing yet at first glance. I’m looking forward to further deciphering the film when it’s more widely available, there’s a lot I like here, but there’s some I don’t. Christopher Nolan has made some of my favorite films of the 21st century and a few of my favorite films ever, so for him to deliver a rollicking, jubilantly complex and at times incomprehensible espionage thriller in which he’s toying with and manipulating the ideas and concepts he’s been tinkering with his whole career is not out of left field but after a movie like Dunkirk that bore all his trademarks but felt unlike anything he’d ever made, it’s slightly disappointing. There’s a line delivered early on in the film to The Protagonist to help him grasp the conflict he now finds himself a part of- “Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.” That may be the key to truly appreciating Tenet, but although there’s a lot you can try to understand in the film, there’s not enough to feel.

Tenet Review – The Musings of Apple Juice


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