Christopher Nolan brings us an ambitious film in ‘Tenet,’ which he directs, produces, and writes. It was made by Syncopy and Warner Bros. Pictures. Its theatrical release had been delayed three times before finally coming to cinemas in 2020, albeit briefly.
A CIA Agent (John David Washington) aka the Protagonist is tasked by his boss Fay (Martin Donovan) with finding ‘Tenet,’ a weapon that ‘inverts’ time. If this weapon gets out, it could trigger a third World War. He connects with British intelligence officer Neil (Robert Pattinson). Neil helps him locate the weapons dealer Priya (Dimple Kapadia) in India who warns him of the dangers of Tenet but gives him the name of Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). Sator is selling the weapons and is rumored to commune with the future. British secret agent Sir Michael Crosby (Michael Caine) tells how to get to Sator’s wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki). This leads him to the Russian, but the Protagonist learns that this weapon is far more dangerous than he could have ever imagined.
I would like to praise the cast. Every single person delivers in their respective roles with all of the skills they can muster. This is especially true of John David Washington. He is masterful in the role of the Protagonist and his arc keeps the movie grounded where it could have easily gone astray. As an aside, it is always nice to see Michael Caine, even if in a cameo.
The technical prowess is also impressive. Hoyte van Hoytema, with whom Nolan collaborated on Dunkirk, brings the cinematography to life. Every scene is captured with vibrance and intention. This is also true of the music done by composer Ludwig Göransson. The background score matched the events unfolding before you with ease, complimenting the tension of the film.
Like many of the director’s works, this is not one where you can be distracted. Every detail is finitely intricate to the plot, which yes, I will admit is complicated, but it is never confusing. It pulls you in with the intrigue, subterfuge, and also themes that bring it all to maximum satisfaction with the climax. This is not just a movie that entertains you, it is one that enthralls you.
If there is one signature of Nolan’s films, it is that he likes to challenge our perceptions of reality. Whether it be space, memory, dreams, superheroes, or in this case, time, he likes to show the audience that things are never quite what we perceive. That is the case with this feature. It challenges how you think of time and how it flows, but also show you that fate can be put in our hands. It is ambitious, well-conceived, and executed like the master of cinema that we have come to see in Nolan.
Bottom line, Tenet is a brilliant work that combines the espionage genre with Nolan’s observations. It is bold, ambitious, and I am definitely regretful I did not see it in theaters. It was clearly meant for that, as it is a masterwork of cinema. While I am not prepared to say it is the best of his work, everyone knows my opinion on that, it is clearly the best of 2020.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: What’s happened, happened. I get it now. But it’s harder to take things on trust from people speaking half-truths.
Check out the trailer below:
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