Is Christopher Nolan’s newest movie Tenet worth the watch?

I believe Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest directors of our generation, with many classics to his name already such as Inception, Interstellar and The Dark Knight, to name a few.

Naturally, I was excited when his new movie Tenet was announced. It looked to be another concept movie and few can pull off complex concepts better than Nolan. 

Now that I’ve actually seen the film and digested it, I can say that, in terms of movies in general, Tenet is good but it’s a step down from Nolan’s other works.

Tenet is a concept movie that is perhaps more complicated than any of the other wacky ideas Nolan has tackled. I love it when filmmakers do this, making things more difficult on themselves in order to create something much more unique. 

The concept of Tenet is essentially this: in the future, a certain process can be performed on an object or a person and the object or person will move backward in time, which is replicated in the present. 

This makes for some really cool scenes where actions are reversed, creating a very interesting effect. Unfortunately, this concept makes a confusing plot all the more confusing. 

While there were fun things being done with the idea, I was often confused about how it related to the plot. That’s not to say that the movie didn’t make sense but I feel that upon first viewing, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the story. 

The first act of the film was a struggle to get through. The first 30-60 minutes had some really dull moments that made me more bored than anything. 

Additionally, some moments during that time span didn’t make a lot of sense to me, some of which would become more understood as the movie progressed, some parts I still can’t grasp. 

The acting was pretty good—Robert Pattinson putting in a great performance as per usual—but I felt that the characters left a lot to be desired. The protagonist played by John David Washington isn’t given a name, let alone a backstory or any distinct personality traits. 

As a result, it’s difficult to care about him or Pattinson’s character, who is given similar treatment. The emotional drama is meant to stem from Kat—played by Elizabeth Debicki—and her relationship with her husband and son which is written well enough; I just wish there was a little more effort put into the individual characters.

Those are my main grievances. Otherwise, I found the film to be expertly shot and well-choreographed. While the first act was relatively poor, the other two acts were much more exciting and interesting. 

Even though the concept was difficult to grasp, it still made for very fun sequences and visually appealing moments. The dialogue flowed naturally, managing to be appropriately comedic, intense or encompass whatever emotion necessary. 

Nolan is known for his large-scale practical effects and in this film he keeps this trend going by crashing an airplane into a building,which is an awesome visual. The stunts overall were very well done and exciting, especially  the big car chase during the latter half of the film.

Overall, I admire any movie that takes risks, especially with a concept like the one in Tenet. However, it’s possible to be too complicated. I’m still not 100 per cent sure that everything I saw even made total sense. 

Even if I assume that it did, Tenet would still be my least favorite movie in Nolan’s filmography. Even so, If you take Nolan’s name off the project, the film is pretty good within the context of 2020 movies. 

Tenet reminded me of other films such as Nolan’s breakout Momento and Shane Carruth’s time travel cult classic Primer—both being films that handle similar concepts a lot better. 

Overall, I’d still recommend watching Tenet. It’s the best film in theaters right now but be warned, if you’re prone to headaches it may not be the film for you.

Leave a Reply