Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.
No truer words could ever be spoken about Christopher Nolan’s latest offering, Tenet.
Known for distorting reality and uber complex storylines, Nolan certainly delivers on his promise and more in this genre-bending thriller.
Armed with only one word – Tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real-time. Not time travel. Inversion.
Full of action, Nolan easter eggs, and a try-to-keep-up mystery, Tenet is ridiculously complex. One minute you’re moving forward and the next minute you’re moving back — and if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to get left behind in the mayhem.
If you’re ambitious enough to piece together the multi-faceted puzzle that is the storyline, then you will be rewarded with as many “a-ha” moments as you are exploding buildings. But, if you’re there for the cinematic display of expertly curated special effects, just sitting back and appreciating the spectacle is more than enough.
Starring Washington (yes, Denzel’s son) and Robert Pattinson (The Batman) as his sideman, Neil, the characters dictate what’s to come next, even if you’re left scratching your head. With this, it’s hard to know who to trust and often, even they have no idea themselves.
Kenneth Branagh’s scene-stealing Andrei Sator is evil personified and his wife, played by Australian actor Elizabeth Debicki (who is clearly on the precipice of the peak of her career) is also a stand-out as Kat. She plays the mother of a young son, who is spoken about so often that you’d be forgiven for thinking he is a lead and not just a background player.
Kat is as fragile as she is broken, yet is an integral piece of fabric that moves the story along, but for those looking for a love story in the crazy, you’d be hardpressed to find one here.
Tenet was filmed in nine different countries and with an eye-watering budget of US $205 million dollars and it’s no wonder, the scenery was often breathtaking at times. For a world stuck indoors by a global pandemic, it’s a wanderlust feast for the eyes — and a lifetime away from hand sanitiser and Microsoft teams.
But don’t be fooled, it’s Nolan — and although filmed before COVID, oxygen masks play a pivotal role which can be particularly jarring.
Ultimately, Nolan has succeeded in what he set out to do. For two hours and thirty minutes, he alters the fabric of reality. It’s big, it’s bold and it’s incredibly complex.
Moreover, you’re probably going to want to see Tenet a second time, but regardless of how many sessions you do, spring for HOYTS Xtremescreen or HOYTS LUX — it’s a bold stunner that should only be enjoyed at the cinema.