Tenet Movie Review Rating: 5/5 Stars (Five stars)
Star Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Kenneth Branagh
Director: Christopher Nolan
What’s Good: It’s the best thing to happen to 2020, and even that’s an understatement for the final product it turns out to be.
What’s Bad: It’ll be criticised by many for various reasons, overshadowing things which we should actually discuss about it!
Loo Break: Only if you want to leave things mid-way because you’re not getting anything after you return.
Watch or Not?: If you want to do proper justice to the film, make sure you watch it on the best screen possible (IMAX preferable).
Christopher Nolan introduces us to his ‘protagonist’ (John David Washington) as he executes an undercover mission at an opera house. After the mission, he consumes a cyanide pill to save his life and wakes up, knowing that all this was a test. A test to gauge his capabilities if he can save the present from the attack of the future. Along with us, he learns about the process of ‘inverted’ entropy through which the individual beings from the future are trying to destroy the present.
With the help of a local contact, Neil (Robert Pattinson) the protagonist traces the tracks of this chaos to Mumbai, India. Priya (Dimple Kapadia), member of a secret organisation helps him to find the missing links to this mission. At the centre of all these links, we have a Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) who is the mastermind orchestrating this whole mission (or is he?). This race ‘with’ time may or may not lead the protagonist to the destination he wants, but it’ll surely lead him to the place he’s destined to be at, and that’s Tenet in a (nuts)hell for you.
Tenet Movie Review: Script Analysis
Now, I totally understand about the criticism this is getting, and it’s not because people haven’t understood the film, it’s because there’s no way you can get this film entirely in a single watch until you’re Nolan. He has always been the one breaking the rules to get his structure right.
Nolan doesn’t follow the three-act-structure for Tenet as well. He never establishes the characters in the first act, he never sticks to his ‘protagonist’ following his resolution to solve the mission in the second act, and he doesn’t even give the climax you’d expect in the end. Instead, he gifts you the great grand finale somewhere middle in the film without you realising that this might be the closure you’re looking for.
“Don’t get into the chopper if you’re thinking in linear terms,” says one of his characters amid an adrenaline-pumping scene; that’s his clear suggestion to the audience hoping for a straight-forward narration. Nolan returns to his tried and trusted cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, primarily to shoot reverse action sequences inversely. Nolan knew he needs Hoyte’s camera to give birth to his insane vision on-screen & it’s totally worth every frame.
Nolan’s decision of bringing Noah Baumbach’s favourite editor Jennifer Lame on-board seemed a bit tricky before I watched the film but now as I’ve lived it, everything is making sense.
Tenet Movie Review: Star Performance
John David Washington as the protagonist fits in miraculously well to this abstract world. Just like his previous leads, Nolan doesn’t give him many chances to be the ‘hero’ of the film. But when he does, Washington makes sure to lap it, resulting in scenes to remember. Nailing the whole ‘reverse’ body language, Washington expands his scope as an actor to something that would’ve been unimaginable before this.
Robert Pattinson stylishly destroys hue and cry about his presence in the film. Not Tenet, Pattinson’s performance will help The Batman more. After Lighthouse and The Devil All The Time, he goes on yet again to prove why he’s way more than Twilight. Subtly juggling between the charm and the suave, Pattinson is an essential piece in this demanding puzzle.
Elizabeth Debicki as Kat brings in the substance in the second half of her performance, until which she is kept under the wraps. Despite giving a powerful role to Dimple Kapadia and an equally resilient performance by her, I just wished her character had a little bit of more involvement in the mission. Kenneth Branagh manages to build a tremendous amount of tension as Andrei Sator, and that’s possible due to his master skill of getting serious at any given point of time.
Tenet Movie Review: Direction, Music
The first thought I had about Christopher Nolan after watching this film was “he’s the man from the future.” It’s not remotely possible for someone among us achieving this depth while narrating a story. As he himself writes, “Tenet isn’t something built in the past, it’s something that will be built in the future.” Following the similar route of “I won’t spoon-feed anything” Nolan has taken a bold step towards expanding the ways, a story can be told. He pens a screenplay which is neither linear nor non-linear
It’s not every day when you stop wishing for a Nolan-Zimmer combo because Ludwig Göransson’s attempt at this is otherworldly. It’s partially Nolan, but Ludwig’s background score will smash the highest of your expectations. Nolan took a music piece created by him, reversed its arrangement and used in a crucial scene. That’s the limit of how fanatic can someone be about his art.
Tenet Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, this is as Nolan as it can ever get! I can’t really understand if Tenet is ahead of its time, or is it behind? The only way for you to find out is by watching it. Highly recommended!
PS: Terms to study after you watch Tenet – Entropy, Temporal Pincer Movement, Grandfather Paradox & learn something about J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Tenet releases on 4th December 2020.
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