Ten out of Tenet

Title: Tenet
Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action, Thriller, Mystery, Time-travel.
Main Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Dimple Kapadia.
Runtime: 210 mins.
MDb rating: 8.0/10.
My rating: 9.5/10.
Quick summary: Travelling backwards and forwards through time can be confusing at the best of times. Our protagonist is doing both simultaneously while trying to save the world from a ruthless arms dealer. Keep your thinking caps on for this fantastic piece of filmmaking.

John David Washington in Tenet (2020)

I’m gonna address this really quickly. The title says ten out of tenet but that was merely a play on words. The film loses half a mark because of the sound quality. There were certain parts where characters were delivering important pieces of information over roaring trains, oceans and car chases. However, that is probably my only criticism of this movie.
I am always wary of jumping on a bandwagon. I often forego seeing new movies if they are too popular. I don’t know if I am part-hipster or if everyone fawning over something that has been promoted to death sickens me a little inside. For example, Netflix originals sit in my list for months before I watch them because so many people are raving about them. It is a weird habit of mine and one I must kick if I want to be a serious movie-reviewer!

We follow the Protagonist (John David Washington) as he fights a never-ending battle to save the world from certain death via a maniacal arms dealer’s (Kenneth Branagh) plan to end all life. He teams up with the charming Neil (Robert Pattinson, our villain’s wife (Elizabeth Debicki) and an Indian crime matriarch (Dimple Kapadia) in an attempt to stop Sator (Brannagh) from bringing about total ruin.

Robert Pattinson in Tenet (2020)

The story sounds simple enough. Now, add in a confusing time-travel element, countless story threads that seemingly lead nowhere and a mind-bending final battle that rivals the head-scratching brought about by Inception, and you have a trickier task on your hands. You are not merely watching a movie. You are landed slap bang in the middle of a story that is constantly looping and forced to solve riddles that the director plants in your lap. This is not for everyone and that is OK.

I don’t mean to sound like an asshole here, but I didn’t find this movie that hard to follow. The main storyline is pretty much explained to us throughout and the clues about different characters being more than they appear are blatant enough on the big screen. Now, if you asked me to explain the time-travel aspect of our show I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin, and there are some things that are left unexplained, but for the most part it is not too difficult to understand.

Kenneth Branagh and Elizabeth Debicki in Tenet (2020)
Debicki and Branagh

John David Washington is fantastic. He was brilliant in BlacKkKlansman and hilarious in Ballers, but this will be what he is remembered for in the years to come. He is calm, cool, suave and collected all while navigating his new journey in a scary world where the past is not necessarily safe. He has a brilliant chemistry with Robert Pattinson, who has outgrown his Twilight pigeonhole with hilarious interviews and fantastic performances in some brilliant films over the last couple of years (The King, Good Time, The Lighthouse). Both men are and will be in high demand.
Elizabeth Debicki is outstanding as the broken wife of a criminal. She switches from being the damsel in distress to the new, free woman she dreamed of imperceptibly.
Dimple Kapadia is someone that I had never heard of before but I am glad I do now. Driving the storyline along with her helping hints to the Protagonist, she was very good in the time she got on screen.
There is nothing new to say about Kenneth Branagh. He is our generation’s Laurence Olivier and Steve McQueen all rolled into one. He is convincing as the narcissistic and murderous Sator, intent on taking the world down with him.

Washington and Kapadia on their way to their local cinema

I really would like anyone who reads this to go and see Tenet in cinemas if you can. I know that lockdown and quarantine is hampering people’s ability to get to a cinema. Tenet was the first movie I have seen in my local cinema and I am happy to say that the wait was worth it. The two and a half hours will fly by. You will be scratching your head leaving but you will be on the edge of your seat for the majority of the film.
So go support your local cinema by seeing the best film of 2020 so far!

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