‘Don’t try to understand it, just feel it.’
When submitting essays at university, between the act of final proof read and pressing that ‘submit’ button I would have one recurring and prevailing thought – this is either total brilliance or totally nonsensical. I had an echo of that thought throughout the entirety of Tenet 150 minute running time. But, are brilliance and nonsense truly binary opposites – or are they inverted…?
The biggest film to hit cinema’s in nearly six months is Christopher Nolan’s go at a Bond movie – a caper full of spies, missions, dashing leading men in great suits, a damsel in distress and gorgeous locations all around the globe. It’s also his most inaccessible film to date. I’ll avoid going into any detail at all about the plot because of A) Spoilers and B) I’m pretty sure I have absolutely no idea what happens in Tenet, and I just came out o the 14.10 screening of it. I look forward to reading the Wikipedia summary and/or idiots guide to what just went down. There’s something wildly liberating about having extended periods of time where you have absolutely no idea what is happening or will happen next.
Did I enjoy Tenet? Watching it, yes. Trying to work out what was going on, no. It’s pretentious to say, but I truly appreciated it even if I didn’t enjoy it all that much. It truly is the cinematic spectacular that Nolan himself has been advocating for months. The stunt work is truly incredible, with some impeccably coordinated and shot sequences which truly boogle the mind. The locations are extraordinary and add to the film’s immersive qualities.
The performances are exemplary. We already knew from Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman that John David Washington is a great talent. Here we see that he is an unquestionable star, with an electric charisma that is beyond captivating. Robert Pattinson’s internal chaos is channelled brilliantly as Nolan’s doppelganger (aka the character in each Nolan movie that dresses just like him. If in doubt, look for the scarves.) Elizabeth Debicki is excellent with what she is given, it’s a joy to see her 6ft 3 height shown and not hidden. Kenneth Branagh is there as a Russian villain.
As I come to end of writing this piece, I’m not sure if I need to see Tenet again or never again. My practical advice when it comes to seeing it? Go in with no expectations, don’t try to resist it or work it out. Let it embrace you and allow it to sweep you up in its journey. If you’re comfortable with getting back into the cinemas, this is one to see on the biggest screen possible.
Tenet is out in UK cinemas from Wednesday 26th August.