Let’s Talk About: Tenet
Where do I even start?
As much as I would love to try to set this movie up for those who haven’t seen it and see it to you, I really honestly have no idea what it’s about, even after watching the whole thing.
With a running time of just over two and a half hours, Tenet will surely throw your mind for a twist and somehow make Interstellar look super straightforward. To add onto it’s run-time, the fact that the plot is beyond baffling makes it feel even longer. At just half way through I remember thinking “wow, I really have no idea what’s going on and the movie’s probably almost done!” It wasn’t. And I continue to have no idea what was going on for nearly another hour.
And this isn’t trying to say the movie felt too long. For reasons I’ll soon discuss, this was still a visually fantastic film and I never found myself bored. Just super confused.
Now let’s talk about a few aspects of the movie that I can actually discuss because they have nothing to do with the plot.
The score is amazing. Composed by Ludwig Goransson, the guy who brought you the music behind Black Panther and The Mandalorian, the Tenet score works so unbelievably well with the action-packed scenes and mind-bending cinematography. For lack of a better description, the score has tech-y futuristic undertones (which fits well with the technology-from-the-future-plus-time-travelling plot-line) and works the entire time to build tension, even when the audience might not really understand what is truly happening.
Speaking of cinematography, Hoyte van Hoytema does not mess around. Hoytema, known for his work on Spectre, Interstellar and Dunkirk (not exactly films you don’t want your name on), made the movie what it was, which the plot couldn’t do for me throughout most of the film. Usually, with tense, mind-bending plots like these where most of the time I sit there confused, there has to be a pull that keeps me hooked until I can figure out the story. For example, with Interstellar, I had no idea (have* no idea, sadly if I’m being honest) what the bookshelf scene was and why it was necessary but the entire movie was visually so eye-catching and fascinating that in the end I was hooked in enough to see it three times and kind of figure it out. Same goes for Tenet. While I truly had no idea what was even happening at all until the last 45 minutes (and that’s being generous), I had no intention to stop watching because the half-backwards, half-forwards action scenes tied together with some unbelievably cool shots made it all worth it.
Now I don’t want to drone on about how confusing the film was for too long, so I will keep this conclusion short and sweet. While it wasn’t Nolan’s best film, it sure as heck was a Nolan film, and one with fantastic performances from John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki and Robert Pattinson at that.
And as one of the only big blockbuster, not-made-or-released-by-a-streaming-service films to be released in 2020, Tenet does double-duty, not only with it’s length but the fact that I’m pretty sure to understand it all you have to watch it twice.