Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real-time.
Tenet had some of the most insane hype around any film, maybe ever. A lot of it had to because it’s the first big-time film to come out since theaters were shut down. Of course, that wasn’t at the fault of the film, but expectations for the film were out of this world. I think this is going to bog down some of those opinions in the world.
As the film kicks off, I am not sure many filmmakers are as good as Nolan in taking your breath away from the opening sequence. The film opens with this intense action-packed sequence that is elevated by this pulsating score that reminds you that you are back inside a theater, and boy, did it ever feel good.
Before I dig deep into the film, this review will be spoiler-free. I will not mention any of the plot points, I will mention performances, direction, score, and some of what I felt like worked or didn’t.
First, I will say, just like any other Christopher Nolan film, you have to pay close attention to the story and what he is feeding throughout the film. Nolan never makes it seem like he is smarter than you (Charlie Kaufman), and he relies on the viewer to understand the message and the story he is trying to convey. He does this throughout the film, he entices you with bits and pieces, and when certain things happen, it’s like a call back to early aspects of the film.
Generally, Nolan does a good job of introducing his characters, and there was no difference in Tenet. We get that introduction to The Protagonist, played by John David Washington, in a way that makes you say ‘yeah, this is the guy’ and the same can be said when we are introduced, to Neil played by Robert Pattison.
For the most part, I have seen a lot of grievances of the lack of character depth within both Washington and Pattison, and for me, this couldn’t be more wrong. Washington had layers within the Protagonist character that made you care about what he was doing. He had this way of carrying himself to make everything he did seem important, and that’s a testament of the writing and Washington himself.
Speaking of Washington, he was hands down the best part of this film. He oozes confidence in this role, and you need it because you are trying to buy into who he is as a person. When The Protagonist walks into the room, he believes he is the baddest man on the planet, and you believe it too. Washington is one of the best actors in Hollywood, and now he has shown that he can lead a Blockbuster Franchise for years to come.
Transition into Pattison. Man oh man, if this man is half of what he was in this film within the character of Bruce Wayne, we are in for a hell of a treat. He has this way of delivering his lines that comes off with such confidence, and I would even say arrogance that makes you want to hear so much more.
Moving on to Andrei Sator, our Villian played by Kenneth Branagh, MAN WAS HE GOOD. He was a smug, arrogant asshole that you loved to hate. When Andrei was onscreen with Kat (Elizabeth Debicki), they both did a wonderful job and making you believe they hated each other’s guts! Branagh could be a villain in a Marvel film, Bond movie, something because he is damn good at it. Debicki was an absolute delight in the movie, as well.
Next, I will talk about the co-MVP of this film, Ludwig Göransson. This score is hands down one of, if not the best score ever used within a Blockbuster film, EVER. It’s loud, powerful, subtle, angry, and best of all, in your face. There were several sequences of events that happen that the score brings the scene up 1000 notches.
Above all, I was impressed with Nolan’s ability to continue to play chess while other directors are playing checkers. The reversed fight scenes were out of this world. I was blown away by his ability to make them not look cheesy but make them look legit and real as well. His attention to detail throughout this film is something that makes you appreciate his work even more.
Lastly, Tenet is one of those films that will be controversial for years to come. You will have people complain because they didn’t get it, you will have people complain because the characters weren’t developed, you will have people complain because they like to complain, but I promise you this, Tenet is hands down one of the best Action films that have ever been made. From the stellar score to the remarkable acting to the insane achievement in direction, Tenet is phenomenal.
‘Tenet is hands down one of the best blockbuster films ever made.”
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