Editor’s Note: This review of Tenet was made possible thanks to the proper safety measures and social distancing implemented in the re-opening of theaters. The review below, no matter the opinion, is not meant to make the reader undermine these crucial feats in the fight against COVID-19. Continue to practice proper health etiquette and remember, no movie is worth getting sick over.
Christopher Nolan and time, a saga that forever continues. His latest film Tenet explores such ideas touched upon in Memento and Inception, but furthers them as it branches out into unthinkable territory. How was this made? How could one think of such a concept and pull it off in such masterful fashion? The answer is, Christopher Nolan is Christopher Nolan and he’s outdone himself. No filmmaker past or present has ever operated on such an innovative level.
Tenet left me utterly speechless. It left me shivering in exhilaration and as I write this, I still am. Successfully crafting a non-stop film of pure suspense, editor Jennifer Lame and Nolan take on Alfred Hitchcock’s “bomb theory” and take it up into the stratosphere. Utilizing information given to the spectator while simultaneously parallel editing to action-orientated scenes, what is created is a sense of awe and ongoing, nail-biting thrills. What Nolan has done is innovation beyond all else, perhaps his 2001: A Space Odyssey moment? It will be talked about for years to come.
We follow the Protagonist (John David Washington) as he embarks on a highly ambitious and mysterious mission. The future and the state of the world is at stake, everything must be played out as precisely as planned. Time is inverted for some, while for others, time flows chronologically. Our Protagonist is assisted by Neil (Robert Pattinson), a fantastically tailored Englishman with a flair for intelligence.
The quote, “Don’t try to understand it, feel it”, perfectly sums up Tenet. It is to be felt, to be experienced, to be immersed in. However, there is an understanding, whether we will ever know the true answer to everything we shall see (if any such phenomena were to ever exist, maybe we would know). An individual’s understanding that is able to be formed is part of the fantastic effect of the film. The conception that Tenet is ‘confusing’ is a futile conclusion, as like Inception‘s ending, you are led to make your own understanding.
John David Washington is perfectly cast as the Protagonist – a cool and yet, simple leader capable of capturing the attention and hearts of spectators, while the ever suave Robert Pattinson brings the charm. The relationship there is brilliant and entirely important. I would be forsaken if I weren’t to reference Casablanca, “This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Which is extremely relevant.
Beautifully filmed on glorious IMAX 15/70mm film, Hoyte van Hoytema captures the most wondrous colors with his cinematography. It’s a marvel of filmmaking trickery with craftsmanship on all fronts. Side by side, the direction and cinematography is backed by Ludwig Göransson’s invigorating and tension-filled score, never allowing time to relax. Shiver-inducing and chilling, there are frequent moments that will undoubtedly blow you away. Such scenes are clearly by the hands of Nolan’s genius. Beautiful parallels litter the closing moments, small touches of humanity and the brilliance of Nolan’s dream-like imagery close off untold, yet now-apparent loose ends.
Tenet is immersion. Christopher Nolan will render you speechless and shivering in endless exhilaration. It’s a beautifully-made film that deals with concepts beyond imagination, it’s Nolan operating at his highest and smartest. Masterfully crafted with gorgeous and enthralling spectacle, Tenet certainly ranks as the best film of the year.