As a Protagonist is on a journey and about to experience the world in a very different manner when given the word Tenet. Fighting for the survival of the entire world he must embrace everything he learns about time.
The Protagonist (something I did not realise when watching the film that we are never actually given his name) becomes our unlikely hero in an attempt to save the world. Although he quickly finds out that the world is not as straight forward as he once thought. Everything is not as it seems and the introduction of different time and being able to travel through it backwards as well as forwards certainly creates some very interesting moments. He cannot help himself in attempting to say Kat who is married to Russian arms dealer Andrei Sator and not in a happy marriage at all. Getting in very deep in such a short space of time really was not the best idea at all.
Tenet is Christopher Nolan’s first jaunt into the spy genre and taking his love for James Bond and creating something truly unique and engaging. A true passion project for him taking on the directing and writing the script on his own, a lot of secrecy has surrounded the film and even actors who were in it did not read the full script.
It’s one of those extremely difficult films to review as its extremely complex and I will openly admit that probably around the half way point I felt like I didn’t have a clue what was going on at all. Sometimes though that is not a negative about a film, it was blowing my mind with different ideas around time and it felt confusing to follow. Although certain events then continue to happen and then more of it makes sense (I think). Even though when the film finished I wasn’t even fully sure what I was supposed to feel or think about it.
The action scenes were very impressive and I have seen found out that no CGI or green screen were used to perform them. Pretty impressive when you take into consideration the plane! (Not a spoiler as that is mentioned in the trailer) We just don’t seem to get this level of filmmaking anymore with CGI fully taking over. So it certainly makes me happy that Nolan loves nothing more than exciting the audience.
Performance wise everything was pretty perfect in that sense with John David Washington excelling in the leading role. He really has come into his own in the past few years being a true joy to watch. He had such a likeable nature and that mixed very well with his hardened spy approach. Robert Pattinson was the ultimate scene stealer for me and I really loved each and every time he appeared on screen, really offering fantastic presence. Then we get Kenneth Branagh who was a rather despicable character and did that in the best way possible, therefore a very impressive performance. Elizabeth Debicki was given a very tough role but this was something that she more than excelled with, an actress who has put in some very impressive roles recently but I think she has topped it with this one. We are also given a lovely cameo from Michael Caine as well keeping that Nolan collaboration alive for another film!
I cannot say that I loved Tenet and that my mind was completely blown away by all of it, but I certainly did enjoy and like it a lot. I feel Nolan has set a very high bar for his films and that is something that I feel is going to make them so difficult not to get overexcited for going forward. I am already thinking about heading to see this for a second viewing in the next week though!