Tenet ★★★½

My head hurts...a lot...now I believe Christopher Nolan always wanted to make overcomplicated films no one understands so he could be hailed as a genius by those who didn’t understand a single thing...

In all seriousness: After waiting for so many months and many push-backs due to corona, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” finally hits theaters. I am lucky enough to have seen it now in my region.

I am not the biggest Nolan fanboy, I used to love his films when I was younger, but after growing up, I realised his films are only big spectacle, even if it is good spectacle (which it is) but far away from THE pinnacle of cinema as many other annoying Nolan fanboys try to claim it to be. But nonetheless, he is still a talented director who puts out the more interesting Hollywood blockbusters to the public, considering the fact that brain-dead superhero movies are currently infesting the film market. And off course I was excited to go and see it.

My feelings towards “Tenet” are currently mixed. I will have to wait off a few days until I give it a definitive rating, but I have to say this: The scope of this film is just beyond anything Nolan has ever touched, it might be the biggest film he’s ever done in terms of scope and the story. The film was never boring at a single minute, every minute flew by quickly, it is indeed a fast paced adventure. The cinematography is pure eye candy, surely one of Nolan’s best looking films he has done, and that is saying a lot, but the fact that the movie took place in so many different locations surely helped that matter of fact because it takes place in Mumbai, Tallinn, Siberia, London, Oslo, this film went everywhere around the world just like if I were experiencing a James Bond film. In terms of all the technical aspects, this film is a pure masterpiece, from the sound design and mixing, the cinematography, the Color grading and Color palette, it is a technical marvel. And the great music adds to the film so much and gets you excited for every scene, even if Ludwig Göransson ain’t no Hans Zimmer. The acting was, as usual, fantastic from everyone involved.

At the other hand, this film went overboard with its story. Even if you activate all of your brain for this film, you will still be left confused. This film requires ofc all of your attention, but it will still confuse you no matter what. This is the kind of film that will require 3-4 viewings, not because I believe it’s a masterpiece, but just to get to understand some of the concepts this film is trying to bring to the table. There will be many audience members who will leave the theater saying that it’s “all nonsense” or “just pretentious”, but I think Nolan just put the gear this time to level 6 instead of his usual level 3-4. Or to put it even more simple: it’s like if Christopher Nolan throws a thousand puzzle pieces on your face and then forces you to build it all by yourself with no template to look at (even if I like a good puzzle).

But negatives that I have to address are the dialogues; almost all of the film consists of exposition dialogues, where characters try to explain the plot to each other and to the audience. Off course, a crazy story like this needs to be explained to the audience in a way, but as a consequence, the characters are all devoid of any characterisations or emotions, which is a big negative point to me since it hinders me from getting connected to any of the characters.

At the end of the day, I have conflicting feelings towards the film, I think that I tend more towards liking the film since I did have my fun with this film to a certain extent, and I would like to recommend watching it in a theater since this is a film that must be experienced in a theater (and I am so happy to see a new-release in a theater again, especially a Nolan film), but personally, I need some time to process all of which I have seen. I still don’t know if I consider this a very smart film that brought the concept of time to a whole new level or if it’s a pretentious pseudo-scientific disappointment that tries way too hard to over-complicate a super-simple story (or to put it more simple: if it is Nolan’s best or worst). I will see.

(I know this review comes off as half-assed, and probably has a lot of typos or grammar mistakes, but it’s now 1:30AM, I just came back from seeing it and I still need to process what I just saw)

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