Tenet

Tenet ★★★½

"I don't know how...you were inverted.
No one alerted you"

- George Harrison



Tenet sees the world return to high octane, high budget and even higher concept multiplex film viewing. Due to its timing, it carries that weight far more literally than was intended and while under that bright white spotlight of expectation Tenet's imperfections may shine even brighter than the thrilling action movie at its core.

I won't attempt to offer a synopsis; it's irrelevant and does the movie a disservice. As has always been his modus operandi, director Christopher Nolan prefers to drop his audience into his stories cold and without warning. That's a trick I don't get bored with, I enjoy those first twenty minutes, scrambling for information, paddling to get my head above the water of obfuscation; and especially so when that disorienting open is into an action sequence with those bass-y Hans Zimmer-esque (not the man himself, but a good imitation) sounds.

The trick I do get bored with is when that same obfuscation lasts the duration of the film and at no point do certain crucial elements become clearer.

Half of Tenet is frantic and fantastic action sequences that stir the viscera and leave you trying to scratch it further once the gunsmoke settles (or has it already settled and is now retreating into the gun as first fired??). The other half is people quoting and mirroring physics concepts, in multiple accents deep in the mix below white noise and bass, often whispered and sometimes even wearing oxygen masks. It's an infuriating mix of some of the best of cinema (grand, sweeping cinematic action) and the worst of it (exposition, exposition, muted exposition you can't even fucking hear!).

What is wonderful is to return to the movie theatre to watch it. It's so much better that any of the half arsed cookie cutter "movies" Netflix has been pumping out pre- and during COVID. Flawed or not, this is a genuine cinematic film and where it's safe to do so, I hope you're all enjoying it in the best soiled fabric chair with the biggest box of over-priced pop-corn you can. I spent $170 to watch it in a slightly better recliner with some deep fried "gourmet" food and a bottle of $20 wine I paid $60 for.

Ah cinema, while my wallet hasn't missed you, I sure have. Go out and lap it up friends (once again - only where it's safe): You've earned it.

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