Tenet was my first movie that I got to see back in theaters, and while I was so excited to be back, the movie itself was really a disappointment.
John David Washington stars as the nameless “protagonist”, who is given information that makes him the only one qualified to save the world. He is joined by Neil, played by Robert Pattinson, who has information of his own as they try to prevent World War III. Along the way, they work with Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) who is the wife of arms dealer, Andrei (Kenneth Branagh). The performances in this film are mostly great, with the unfortunate exception of John David Washington. I found his acting incredibly boring and stale. Every line was delivered with the same, monotonous and boring tone, which made the already excessive dialogue even harder to listen to. Robert Pattinson on the other had was amazing. He gets better and better every time I see him. In Tenet in particular, he had such charisma and made you really root for him, which was extremely welcome. Branagh was good as always with a decent Russian accent, but Elizabeth Debicki was the best part of their duo by far.
As far as writing goes, I was extremely annoyed for almost the entire film. I understand that complicated concepts of time are Christopher Nolan’s thing, but lately he has been completely overstepping the line of digestibility into unwatchable. I found the concept itself of being able to use time travel as a weapon compelling, but the way it was explained made no sense to me, and that’s not just because I’m dumb. I felt like a lot of key explanation points were either glossed over or just skipped totally. I think that the writing made the film look like it was more difficult to understand, when in reality it was just explained poorly. That’s not to say that I hated every bit of the movie though. I loved the relationship between the protagonist and Neil, and there are a lot of times that some scene was explained later in the movie and I was like “oh cool”. The film is also beautiful, and I always appreciate that Nolan tries to use as little CGI as possible. Another stand out was the score, considering it was recorded separately by each musician due to COVID-19.
Other than the occasional cool looking shot and some good acting, Tenet was in my opinion a total bust. I love to be challenged as an audience member, but I don’t need to be condescended. There are plenty of good ideas, but the obsession with time is growing old. If this movie is you’re only way to go back to the movie theaters, then I guess I would check it out. Otherwise I would just wait until it’s streaming.