Tenet (2020)

[Image is a movie poster of Tenet. It features John David Washington on the top right and an inverted image of him at the bottom left]

Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors. His films are interesting to watch and often so complex that they require multiple rewatches. If I had to pick, I think Memento would be my top choice. I loved the concept of how the events of the film unfolded. I heard about Tenet, but Tenet was released before people felt comfortable going back to a theater in person. With Tenet being available to watch on HBO Max, I figured it was time to sit down and finally watch it. I thought Tenet overall was an interesting film, but I don’t think I fully followed everything that happened.

Tenet opens with a siege on an Opera House. The “Protagonist” (played by John David Washington) leads this mission and while the mission is a success, he’s captured and tortured. The Protagonist takes a suicide pill which ended up being faked. The Protagonist is recruited by an organization called “Tenet”. Part of his training is to learn about introverted bullets or bullets moving backward in time. The fear is if this is something that can be done with bullets, can other more dangerous weapons be manipulated in this way. The Protagonist starts to investigate where these bullets came from and learns about arms dealer Andrei Sator (played by Kenneth Branagh) who is linked to creating these bullets. To help get closer to him, The Protagonist meets his estranged wife, Kat Barton (played by Elizabeth Debicki). The Protagonist, Kat, and Neil (played by Robert Pattinson) team up to take down Andrei and ensure he isn’t able to keep up with this level of technology.

Christopher Nolan’s films have this ensemble cast that helps bring the story to life. John David Washington should be cast in all things. I think he truly leads this film and it’s clearly his story. The action scenes that he films are realistic and extremely detailed especially because there are moments where he’s inverted and fighting himself. Robert Pattinson has gotten a lot of criticism for his actions since he was in Twilight. It’s odd because if you watch him in any other film, you can clearly see that he’s a talented actor. It’s nice to see him getting more recognition. I don’t think I have seen Robert Pattinson in an action film, so I think this shows his range in what types of movies he’s cast in. Kenneth Branagh always plays a good villain. The cast is certainly a highlight of the film.

I think the thing that I struggled with the most with Tenet is keeping up with the story. There are certain moments where both The Protagonist and Neil are inverted in time. I don’t think I can explain how The Protagonist and Neil saved the day because I still didn’t quite follow who was at what time. There was a lot that was happening and I found it difficult to follow. While most of Christopher Nolan’s films have that quality, I found it tougher in Tenet to understand than his other films.

I liked Tenet and I’m glad I watched it. I don’t know if I would watch Tenet again. With that being said, I’m looking forward to Christopher Nolan’s next film, Oppenheimer, which is a biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the physicists on the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer is scheduled to be released on July 21st, 2023.

4 thoughts on “Tenet (2020)

  1. I saw Tenet in the theatre when it first opened, and while I couldn’t explain anything in great detail afterwards I did recommend it to others as a great watch. As you noted, Nolan’s films sometimes take on that quality, but the mind-bending in this one was so severe I just switched the logic portion of my brain off and enjoyed the amazing sights and sounds his films deliver. I have watched it several times since and view it in the same way. There are plenty of sci-fi films where we suspend logic because well…it’s sci-fi…and that’s how I view Tenet. A sci-fi film with great acting and visuals. Great review here.


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