Tenet – Movie Review

~Attention! It contains spoilers!~

Photo taken from here.

Christopher Nolan’s films have this wonderful, interesting twist towards the end that makes you think about things. And mind challenging and thought provoking films are always nice to have.

When I first saw the trailer for Tenet, I instantly made a mind note to see it as soon as it comes out because it seemed that it will tick the “Another awesome Nolan film!” box. Well, for me it didn’t.

Let’s get this straight. The story itself it’s quite interesting, but I think that it’s not properly taken advantage of. In a way, it seems to be more of a bud, rather than a full bloomed flower. Let’s go through it a bit, shall we? :-)

First things first: it was too long for the tangled story it said. Waaay too long! 2.5h! Really?

For me personally, the name is very important. To put out a film in which the main character doesn’t have a proper name and even refers to himself as The Protagonist, is a bit bold. First of all, would you be in the corner of a person whose name you don’t know? I wouldn’t. Why the lack of a name? It’s got to be a very good reason for me to accept it. Even with an explanation at hand, it’s difficult to be on the side (or to acknowledge the leadership) of a nameless man. The Protagonist’s character is not well defined. He’s very… plain and all-knowingly. He seems to know things without being told, he understands things without having (or at least without us knowing he has) any proper former education about them, he doesn’t get shocked/surprised/fazed by anything, really. It makes me think: where’s his humanity? Where’s that bit of “growing the character”? This is also due to the fact that we don’t know anything about the character’s past and training. So we cannot see where he’s coming from and where he’s heading. If we cannot follow his journey, how can we empathize with him?

There are a lot of reviews saying that the music is too loud and the dialogue is too quiet. To be honest, I couldn’t really pinpoint this, as I watched it with subtitles, but I did have to pause, go back and read it again to understand. I didn’t understand the main explanation, though. When the Protagonist sees the reverse bullets for the first time and that lady says “you don’t have to understand”, I felt it was Nolan telling the viewer that line. It was a moment of epiphany: “Oh, so it was written to be understood. Oh, okay then.”

Despite being long, the action is not dragging, really. It’s the editing that gives headaches. They jump from one scene to another without explanations where you are and why and what’s the character doing there. When the Protagonist first learns about the inverted entropy, he is told that he has to drop the bullet to be able to get it back in his hand, but we are not shown that he had dropped it in the first place. Also, he uses a lead glove to manipulate the bullet, but afterwards, he doesn’t really need any lead glove to do anything related to inverted materials. Why?

The mechanism of the algorithm is not really explained – if it was really that dangerous as they say, why don’t we get more info on it? I get it. It’s because we have to follow the struggles of the Protagonist, but he really doesn’t have too many, does he? He knows a lot, nothing frightens him etc etc.

The “tenet sign’ is used only 3 times or so and yet it’s literally the title of the movie. What’s that all about? It didn’t really open too many doors for him as it was promised… Why bother adding that detail in the first place?

It’s almost impossible to get over the lack of explanations, to be honest. Let me explain :) (pun intended). The movie is set in our reality, and then the normal course of events is disrupted when something unusual takes place. That means that all the rules that govern our reality are in place, but there are some that are bent by the unusual events, right? That’s all jolly good, however! We are not told what are the consequences of the bent rules. They get in that reversing machine-device-thingy (we don’t know how the good guys know how it works! They just do…) and walk back in time, changing stuff, but we don’t get to see how the changed past influences the future. The paradox is that in the climax, Kat kills Sator while she was in the past and this should have had huge repercussions in the present, where the Protagonist and Neil have to get the algorithm from the cave. And yet, no repercussions at all. Nothing is changed. Business as usual. Why? Where’s the threat if the offender died in the past??

Last, but not least (there are so many things that I can’t possibly keep counting them!), all the actors, apart from the character of Sator, were poorly chosen. The Protagonist cannot get his act to what it was required for the role. To be fair, I haven’t seen him in any other movie before, but he doesn’t live up to his dad’s charisma and acting. The female character is not attractive at all, in my opinion. I mean, if I were Sator, I wouldn’t think she is that irreplaceable, but hey! You cannot argue about someone’s taste in women. Definitely not a fictional character :-)

Alright, that’s about it for now. It’s a messy review, but to be brutally honest, it was a messy movie. Definitely not one I would recommend. I rated it a 5 on IMDb.

Leave your thoughts on it in a comment below.

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