Christopher Nolan films have become an event, highly anticipated and much discussed and none more so than Tenet, the first major film release since cinema reopened. What more could cinema ask for than an event film that will create enough conversation to drive an audience?
In Tenet, it has got the film it perhaps needed. The story is a “Bondesque” saving the world tale, our main character, John David Washington’s, The Protagonist, is recruited into the world of international espionage to stop Russian Oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) carrying out his world ending plan. To do this The Protagonist must master and use “time inversion” to move back and forth through time to achieve his aim.
Playing with time and our idea of the reality of what we see on screen is a very Nolan trait and, as it does here, adds greatly to the intrigue and skill of the story telling.
One of the criticisms of Tenet is it’s too complex, for me it wasn’t. I really enjoyed it. The trick was to not over think it, there’s a line early in the film where they are explaining time inversion with the basic rule, don’t worry how it works it just does. Take that and run with it for the rest of the film and you’ll have a fine time.
Because once you get past the complexities that the story introduces, you have a top notch thriller. It’s fast moving from the opening scene and it’s a film for the big screen. The action is big, the effects, most of which are physically done, are of cinematic scale. The performances are strong throughout, Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki are excellent in the lead roles, but the show is often stolen by Branagh’s Sator.
This is not Nolan’s best film, but it is a good one and probably exactly the film that cinema needs to bring people back, it won’t be for everyone, but if you don’t over think it and go with what’s happening in front of you, you’ve got a fantastic thriller that even at 150 minutes whizzes by and deserves to be seen on the big screen.