Tenet: A Film Ten Years Too Late

18 Oct

            Sorry it took so long to review this film, but with the increasing social pressure to not go outside, Tenet (2020), directed by Christopher Nolan, is the epitome of a mediocre film that doesn’t boil too hot or low. The plot is about a character named “The Protagonist” who becomes romantically interested in a Russian crime figure’s wife, as he is moving to end the world, as he’s dying from slow pancreatic cancer. If this was a spoiler for you, it’s not, because it’s already been googled, and researched, but the execution of having time play with characters moving in and out of time to make the past and the future work together, is what La Jete and Twelve Monkeys, and Terminator, explored better, and smarter. 

            To be honest, the film looks like a Christopher Nolan film, but it seems like it should have come before Inception, because it’s the dream that the Leonardo Dicaprio’s character, Cobb, dreamed of, but was a small bubble inside the Protagonists head. It’s a film that deconstructs itself and internalizes all the films and televisions that came before that have studied time travel stories, and with Avengers: Endgame, being the most lackluster time travel film ever made, Tenet at least wants to take itself seriously, and study the idea with a fervent eye that only Christopher Nolan can deliver. 

            But the film seems late. It’s a film that should have happened after Inception, but the reality is the film is so complicated it bored me. As I could see everything, there was no mystery to the film, and easy plot points that come together, were ultimately standard for what Christopher Nolan can deliver. What the ordinary might seem intelligent, I found it like watching a racquetball game in reverse, as the points are often predictable as every time travel story can be. 

            If it took him ten years, it was ultimately not worth the wait. It’s like being disappointed in later Kubrick films, but at least with Kubrick, there was always a man behind the camera. That used to be Christopher Nolan for me, but here, it was like watching re runs of a show you used to know, but it’s long been overdone. Every Time Travel story is about changing the past, or saving a loved one, when it doesn’t seem to inhabit the world long enough for people to ponder all the implications. When a character in a film tells you “don’t worry about it” that’s code for “I don’t know how to explain this, please like this.” 

            There should be some enjoyment when watching a Christopher Nolan film, but there seems to be a pattern with Nolan films. His overcomplications are getting easier to spot. Even the trickery of the camera, as the window is moving back and forth, to show that when the boat is moving backwards, it gives the trickery that the film needs. All Christopher Nolan is…is trickery. 

            Honestly, this is the best writing Christopher Nolan has done so far. It’s like he got the critical attention he deserved, but now no one needs him anymore. Video games are the form of expression, and while film is rather plain, you know there’s a puppet master, and I could see the strings holding the film together. 

            It’s like when you watch the making of a horror film and you know what the film makers did to make it real, but the destruction of this movie is what makes it so painfully, woefully, bland. For a film about time travel, it seems to regurgitate the “grandfather theory” which everyone else has done, specifically, the Terminator (1984). But while the film seems like a love letter to the style of film we all would have enjoyed ten years ago, it’s a film that proves highly predictable. 

            And I thought I would never say this about Christopher Nolan. But there still leaves room for the Protagonist, as his name is in the title credits, and we’ll definitely see more. Although the actors do a fabulous job with the middle ground work Christopher Nolan gives them, which I would have asked for rewrites. I think and know Christopher Nolan was not making a film that leaves something to be desired, but ultimately if you picked your night of which Christopher Nolan film to watch, this would be last on the list. 

            Overall, it could have been promising but as long as filmmakers and artists don’t try to reinvent the wheel, they are just hamsters spinning around in there farts and urine, never allowed to do anything new, then people might never go to films ever again. And if critics keep praising Christopher Nolan’s middle ground garbage, or lackluster visions that should be viewed on appletv, I hope the theaters close down forever. 


            Stellar Acting.

            Best written movie out of Christopher Nolan’s career.

            Disregards cheesy Marvel film humor.


            Insanely vanilla. 


            A film that has been done before.


            Final Rating: 5/10

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