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Review: Tenet (12A)

Written by Film

After my first cinema experience in what feels like forever I can’t tell what hurts more: my head or my ears.

From the mind behind The Dark Night (2008), Inception (2010), and Interstellar (2014) comes Christopher Nolan’s latest release: Tenet. This sci-fi, action mind-bender (not unlike Inception) follows an unnamed secret agent (John David Washington) in a time-bending attempt to stop World War Three.

I will admit, I didn’t 100% understand this film and it won’t be long before I go to see it again with a new perspective to try and fill in the blanks. But just because I didn’t fully understand it, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. The impressive use of practical effects and consistently great fight choreography make this film an engaging watch, even if you don’t get what’s happening.

An issue I tend to have with most Nolan films rears its head again here: the characters. While the performances from lead actors John David Washington and Robert Pattinson are great and I loved their chemistry, they felt a tad too one-dimensional and generic. It isn’t until the very end of the film where we get some development but by then it’s too late. Yes, Nolan’s films tend to be more about the bigger picture and the concept rather than a specific character, but I really wish he had taken the time to do something with them to help make those emotional beats hit harder.

Göransson delivers with a beautiful soundtrack that builds the intensity of the film to near breaking points

A more beneficial Nolan trope to make a return is the soundtrack. Hans Zimmer tends to do the scores for Nolan’s films, but due to his commitments to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2020), Ludwig Göransson was brought on instead. And Göransson delivers with a beautiful soundtrack that builds the intensity of the film to near breaking points and is certainly one of the greater aspects of the film. But sadly, where there is greatness there can also be failure. At times the score is so loud that lines of dialogue are hard to discern and it’s likely that I missed key pieces of information as a result, which isn’t great in a film as hard to follow as this.

If you are even thinking about watching this, watch it in the cinema. Not only would you be supporting your local cinema, but it is by far the best way to watch it. As the case with many of Nolan’s films, Tenet is a film built on spectacle that can only be truly appreciated in front of that big screen.

Now excuse me while I try to draw a diagram to help figure out this film.

Featured Image: YouTube

Last modified: 31st August 2020

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