T E N E T
the best sci-fi bond film finally made.
I’m a fan of Nolan’s because of Inception. From there, I went backwards. Memento. Following. And when the trailers first came out for the film, I immediately got the same cinematic chills I got from Inception.
All chills rose in the first six minutes, a grand entrance into the world of Tenet that will make the most sense as the film slips into an indecipherable mess.
“Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.”
There are lines strictly meant for an exposition that prolongs itself, running about an hour until a majority of the sci-fi kicks in. But when this line comes up: “Don’t try to understand it…feel it,” take it literally.
I mean it.
It will do you no good to try and grapple with the mechanics of the film. Nolan returns to the idea of time, its fluidity, only to excuse himself to use over-theatrical sets. An opera-house. A plane crash. A military zone with time running forward and backwards. All the mumbo-jumbo that exists, exists solely for these sets.
And you’ve got to let him have it.
With the world-building he’s done in creating Gotham and even recreating the English coast of Dunkirk, blasted, in all its glory, Nolan, at heart, enjoys creating worlds. He was definitely one of those kids that spun hot wheels too deep in gravel to make them screech, only to be making those exact screeching noises.
In all that was fantastical, I wondered, would Nolan make a small film ever again?
But his small films are present. They’re built and coded into how his mind travels, how it transcends time as linear, parallel, or what have you. And we must go with it just to see these worlds developed, alive and breathing on the big screen through explosions and a raging score that washes out the dialogue. You’ll only be able to make out 30% of what anybody is saying. It’s like listening only for the buzz words of any political ramble.
Usually, Nolan creates such strong women with beautiful backgrounds. Here, Debicki plays an incredible performance with much velocity, but it fails overall with the non-existent chemistry between her and Washington. This is important because this is where the film fails.
It lacks empathy.
We don’t feel anything for the characters. It’s not written in, which, is sad, because Debicki’s character actually carries a complexity unlike any other woman in Nolan’s films. The woman here falls flat, and he tries to save that by contrasting in Kapadia.
This is where it fails comparably with Inception in that the world of totems and dreams, we actually had characters we cared for.
With all this said, my palms still sweat and I knotted my legs throughout action-packed scenes. My eyes darted across scenes, following shot after shot through such thrilling fluidity that this was okay.
With Covid-19 still present in the air, it was a delight to even be back at the movies, catching what feels like the very first film of 2020 in a real, theatrical experience.
And no one could’ve done it better than Christopher Nolan.