Tenet

Tenet

Probably Nolan’s most self-aware movie, with his floppy-haired avatar dressed to the nines doling out ridiculous exposition and obvious paradoxes, and perhaps not coincidentally, his funniest movie on purpose in a long time. Is Washington the first Nolan lead with a twinkle in his eye since Bale’s bogus playboy act in the Batman movies? There’s also something satisfying about not just Washington’s oft-praised physicality but his internalized Denzelisms, like the way he stamps his foot when sitting cross-legged next to Pattinson. Nolan has mightily improved as an action filmmaker, too. Don’t think I quite realized the extent to which his style had changed over the course of his career until I revisited his early 2000s run. I remember seeing Morgan Freeman on Conan doing press for TDKR and musing that Nolan would likely work on something smaller after that film. Instead, his movies kept getting bigger. But this is the first of his post-Batman output to really get its hooks in me. There’s something incredibly bold about his approach to narrative and formal rhythm in Tenet, at once inscrutable and belligerently propulsive. At one point it looks as if we’re about to get a deafening, Heat-esque highway shootout but Nolan abruptly cuts to the next scene without losing the momentum. Would’ve liked to have that sequence but I admire what he’s doing. I sympathize with detractors of his maximalist style but I think he’s begun abstracting it into something stranger and less incurious.

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