Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Inception), is a mind boggling spy thriller ride that will reward repeat viewings. Nolan with every film continues to push cinematic boundaries and Tenet is no exception. With films like Inception (2010), Interstellar (2014) and Memento (2000) Nolan has always pushed to the edge of reality in his films and Tenet holds course nicely.
Starring John David Washington (BlacKKKlansman 2018) who is simply referred to as The Protagonist and Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse, Good Time) as Neil his partner, they have to stop the end of the world from the future, while we never really know who is traveling forward in time and who is traveling backwards. Both give solid performances and show us actors whose stars are really beginning to shine.
No one plays a baddy better than a Brit and there is none better than Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, Hamlet). There is a menacing presence he carries that keeps the viewer on his toes and lands hard upon the protagonist.
Tenet has received mixed reviews and after watching it 3 times. Once in the theatre, and with my kids and a friend I still really don’t understand the last hour of the movie. It is a time bending, mind blowing adventure. Imagine a large-scale military invasion of a supply bunker in the desert. Only in this film half the force’s are traveling forward in time, half are moving backwards in time, buildings are blowing up and rebuilding, explosions and implosions and physical objects held by people moving forward that are inverted and traveling backwards and vice versa, all shown on the screen at the same time!
This is Tenet.
For all its shortcomings and there are some (terrible sound mix, flat acting performances in a supporting role), Tenet is a visual masterpiece that fills the eyes with things the mind cannot fully comprehend. You may not like it, but I hope Chris Nolan keeps winding the clock back… Or is it forward?