Tenet ★★

No amount of expensive, high concept action can hide the fact that Christopher Nolan's Tenet is an emotionally hollow film and probably his first consensus failure as a director to deliver a huge original blockbuster. There's a lot of cool ideas in Tenet that sometimes translate to great set-pieces - but when we don't care about anything outside of those set-pieces, does it make it a film ever worth returning to, or even worth watching in the first place?

This is badly written. Yeah some of the time travel shenanigans are clever, but not a single character is well defined and its general 'end of the world heist' plot is obscured by pointlessly convoluted mechanics that are hard to fully grasp even with the absurdly blatant exposition dump scenes. There are a few cool time travel twists that felt exciting and of course seeing such brilliant practical action sequences is always a blast, but otherwise this is void of anything all that interesting.

I don't think this film is that bad, but it's hard to say it's not a failure (even beyond the poor COVID box-office numbers). Nolan's writing has never offered any exceptionally deep characters over high-concept mechanics and set-pieces, but they're inexcusably thin here. Combined with such a self-important, exposition filled plot that still decides to leave vague holes within itself, it's really hard to care about this film.

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