Tenet (2020) – Review

John David Washington stars as a secret agent recruited by a mysterious organisation called Tenet, weaving his way through a twilight world of international crime on a mission to prevent Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) starting World War 3, thus changing the course of humanity. An unbelievably hyped movie that has finally hit the big screens over the past week or two, but a complex one that definitely requires a second viewing to be fully appreciated.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Christopher Nolan
Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki

One thing many of us were looking forward to this summer was the highly anticipated release of Christopher Nolan’s, Tenet. Despite its release being pushed back more than once during the pandemic, we as viewers finally got to see the flick recently, after its release in movie theatres around the world. In a time where cinemas are faced with the uphill struggle of clawing audiences back into their seats, it’s fair to say that a blockbuster of this nature came at just the right time. With that being said however, not many films are flawless and it’s safe to say this certainly wasn’t.

While watching Tenet, I couldn’t help but feel like this flick was reminiscent to a television show being crammed into film format, with a runtime of just one-hundred and fifty-minutes. At times, the story seemed extremely convoluted and the plot in general seemed very rushed from the get-go. There were, however, some really gripping and exciting action scenes thrown into the mix, even if they were a little James Bond-esque in terms of style and substance, but as mentioned, the sheer complexity of the story and rushed nature of certain scenes overshadowed the action sequences to an extent.

In terms of the cinematography, it’s definately worth highlighting just how impressive parts of it was. The film spanned across many different countries, including India (Mumbai), Estonia (Tallin), Italy (Amalfi), United States (California) and even the United Kingdom, but with that being said, I do wish the filmmakers had delved a little more into the locations listed, showcasing them in more depth and in their full glory.

Having spent a little bit of time reading reviews after the movie had finished, one thing that did stick in my mind, was the way in which many critics bemoaned the fact that they felt the audio was too inconsistent and dominating at times, consequently meaning the dialogue wasn’t as clear and understanding as they’d hoped. I’m not sure whether this was because I didn’t watch Tenet in an IMAX setting like many did, but this didn’t seem to be an issue for me at all. The dialogue spoken by each character seemed very clear and easy to comprehend at all times, unlike some films presented to us that can be a little too hard on the ears.

As far as the acting performances went, John David Washington starred as the lead man and seemed pretty convincing at times, especially when it came to the more combative based scenes. Robert Pattinson appeared in a support role alongside Elizabeth Debicki too, the pair adopted the roles of Neil and Kat respectively, both managing to add their own unique spin on the roles given to them. Something worth noting however, would have to be the casting of Kenneth Branagh as the Russian villain, Andrei Sator. For me, this seemed a little lazy and unoriginal – I’d have to side with the notion that a blockbuster of this kind deserved a little more in terms of authenticity when it came to the casting of the main nemesis.

Overall, I’m content in saying Tenet didn’t bore me at any stage, but it didn’t really grab me and make me sit up in awe either. For sure, a second viewing is certainly recommended, and it’s something I’ll more than likely do in the near future, but as far as Christopher Nolan flicks go, I don’t think this managed to hit the dizzy heights of his previous ones, in the form of The Dark Knight, Dunkirk, Inception or even Interstellar.

“You’re only half way there. I’ll see you in the beginning, friend.”

Neil – Tenet

2 thoughts on “Tenet (2020) – Review

  1. Pouty Saudi

    I had higher hopes for it given he did the scientific spin believably well Inception and Interstellar. To me, I had an issue with action versus sci-fi cinematography drowning out the subject matter. Add the excessive exposition and it becomes a masturbatory exercise. I’m no film techie, but you’re lucky if your showing had a more audible format. 6/10 for me, if I had to put a number on it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Year in Review – 2020 | The DC Review Blog – EST. 2020

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