Tenet, A mind bender of an experience from Director Christopher Nolan.

For film fans out there I bet there are a short list of names that get you all excited when they announce they have a new film coming over the horizon. For me it used to be Spielberg, Cameron, Scorsese and still on my list is Oliver Stone. Other names that I see people going giddy over are of course Tarantino and Nolan and whilst I do find those last two names do feature in my clever filmmaker lists, I have weaned a little off getting super excited about a new project from them. That’s not to say I don’t like a new film by Quentin or Christopher, its just that I have become a little nervous at the super hype that those two filmmakers garner when it comes to what is coming from their mind to our screens.

With news that Christopher Nolan was working on yet another secret project (as many of his films are) the internet went wild, trying to work out what the word ‘Tenet’ means, what wonders would we see when the film hit our big screens. Who would be in the film, would Hans Zimmer return to give us another amazing film score, and of course, what role Nolan regulars would return to fill this world. 

Well 2020 had other plans for us, with the outbreak of Covid 19, things began to close, shops, schools, and yes theatres and whilst films ran for the future ‘No Time To Die’, ‘Top Gun Maverick’ ‘Fast and Furious 9’, Tenet held its ground until it didn’t, rescheduling itself to an unknown date.  Fast forward a few months and Warner Brothers (and Director Christopher Nolan) opted to try and save cinema by releasing Tenet into the theatres that were still open around August. Whilst the film did make money, it didn’t make the money that the studio had hoped for (for obvious reasons) and the film didn’t save the large screens as it hoped it would and with pretty much every other major film running for 2021 and beyond, Tenet tried but wasn’t able to succeed.   I love movies, but I like my health more. 

Earlier today I picked up the Blu ray of Tenet which was released in the UK Dec 14th and set up my home projector to get as close to a cinematic experience as I could without heading to a theatre, and having just finished watching the 2 and a half hour mind bender, here are my thoughts. 

Christopher Nolan is a master director, giving spectacle and bang for your money, some of the camera shots are truly stunning and of course in all Nolan films, he fills the world with fantastic acting talent Robert Pattinson is fantastic, Kenneth Branagh gives us yet another great cinematic villain, and Aaron Taylor Johnson as ‘Ives’ was a character I wanted to see more (and yes we get a nice little role for Sir Michael Caine, as was to be expected) The film is also filled with beautiful production design as we knew it would be. Sadly we don’t get a new Hans Zimmer score but we do get a great thumping score by Ludwig Goransson (The Mandalorian). There are truly amazing set pieces in the film and I am very much looking forward to checking out the hour or so featurettes that are on the bonus set on the set I bought. Christopher Nolan is always a watchable filmmaker. All good?

Well story wise Tenet has (for me) a fantastic hour (it might be less than an hour) basically (and no spoilers) decides they have to go to a ‘place’ that’s not quite what they are used to and that’s when things turn headache inducing for me and I abandoned most of my hope of being able to follow this film on its first viewing.   Earlier in the film another character is having a conversation with ‘The Protagonist’ (brilliantly played by John David Washington) and she says something along the lines of “Don’t try to understand it”

I took this as a nice warning from the writers of Tenet that no matter how much I tried to follow the unfolding and mind bending plot, I’d get lost along the way (she wasn’t wrong) 

 So I put my analysis brain to one side and  enjoyed the spectacle of Tenet and spectacle cinema is something that we need, to take our minds away from the real world at the moment, whether that spectacle cinema is on a large TV or a projector (or in a theatre) Its needed!

Is it a film I will watch again? I initially say no, there are way too many films out there that I need to catch up on, but I just know that sometime in the future (or past) I will watch the film again and perhaps understand it a little bit more than I did. Would I recommend Tenet? For everything other than the storyline, it’s a yes from me. Storyline wise though, pass me the headache tablets!  Inside Tenet is a great Bond style movie, for me it just reached for the mind bending pills a little too often.

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