We don’t have to tell you how much the film landscape was shaken up lately and how much pressure there’s on “Tenet” for different reasons, so let’s crack on with it because there’s a lot to talk about.
Based on the previously released trailers, we got to find out that “Tenet” is about inversion and head-spinning events,. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen any of the footage, you might think it will be just an action-packed film about a save the world operation. This is because the start of the movie seems straightforward. During a rescue operation, an unnamed CIA agent, who we will only know as The Protagonist (John David Washington), is being wounded and after being woken up from an induced coma, his life is about to change forever. He wants to take revenge on the people who put a bullet in his body but the future (or was it the past or something in between) has additional plans for him.
The Protagonist is recruited by a secret organization called Tenet. The mission is to prevent Russian oligarch and businessman Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) from starting World War III. However, that might not be as simple as it sounds because Sator has precognition abilities because of which the operation will be about inversion, going back in time, changing past events, and hoping that the future will turn out differently. The Protagonist is not going alone on this high-risk endeavour as he takes on a new partner Neil (Robert Pattinson). After tapping into the life of Sator, The Protagonist finds out that Sator is married to Kat (Elizabeth Debicki). Once The Protagonist and Neil are getting close to him through her, a mind-blowing cat-and-mouse game starts…
‘Don’t try to understand it’is the piece of advice The Protagonist gets at the beginning of his undertaking and that’s the advice we want to give to you too. The more you think about the storyline, the more confusing it gets. During the first part of this movie, you probably think that you understand “Tenet” and that’s about revenge, under-cover operations, cheating, and deceiving. However, it’s clear that once the inversion sets in, you were wrong all along. The “Tenet” rollercoaster takes you up, down, left and right and goes forward, and backwards too. It comes to a halt at some point and right when you thought you’ve finally figured it out, Nolan and his team increase the speed once again!
Because of the current climate, there’s the ‘is a film worth it to go to the cinema?’ discussion. Well, we couldn’t have imagined watching “Tenet” on the small screen. We were lucky enough to see it on IMAX and whether you choose to watch it in on that format, the standard one, a 70mm, or a 35mm version of the movie, your trip to the cinema will be worth it. Here’s why.
The out-of-this-world cinematography dazzles you right from the beginning. Nolan didn’t want to use green screens to computerize the settings so the movie sets were created on different real-life locations such as Italy, India, and Estonia. It paid off immensely! Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, who already worked with Nolan on “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk“, captured the beautifulness and uniqueness of every location stunningly. The expended shots of the cliffs of Almafi, the close-up ones in the streets of Mumbai, the incredible wide-shots inside the concert hall in Tallinn, and that epic battle scene at the end are some of the few shots and scenes we will never forget. Also, don’t get us started on that crashing plane scene for which they used a real aircraft. Can’t wait to see what the following Van Hotyema-Nolan collaboration will look like.
A great story is only as captivating as the way it’s being told by the performances and what stunning performances there are in “Tenet”! We already know what Washington is capable of because of his great performance in “BlacKkKlansman” but this time, he just knocks it out of the park with his incredible powerful (both physically and emotionally) acting. During one of the behind-the-scenes features, we found out that Washington did as many stunts as he was allowed to do and that certainly shows on screen. Before putting on the Batsuit, Pattinson (“The Lighthouse”) gets to wear a suave designer suit and a heavy protected armour first. He’s witty and clever during the conversations and brutal and captivating during the action scenes. Debicki (“Widows”) doesn’t only bring more human emotions to the screen but also some-bad ass fighting skills. Yes, it might be a more psychological fight instead of a physical one but it’s a very punchy one. Branagh (“Dunkirk”) only makes his first appearance as Sator mid-movie but that ‘How would you like to die?’ conversation was definitely worth the wait. We’ve just wished that every line would have been delivered with that power behind it.
Whether or not you want to return to the cinema to watch this movie is up to you. If you decide to go, then “Tenet” will absolutely be worth it! The bonkers but the brilliant story, the magnificent cinematography, and superb cast will remind you that nothing can beat the cinematic experience!
“Tenet” is in UK cinemas from the 26th of August.