Tenet ★★

It felt like Tenet was being made while Christopher Nolan was directing a whole other movie in an alternative reality and had no idea of the existence of this one. The performances and thematic ideas here are all serviceable – but as for an adequate artistic/aesthetic strategy? It’s totally nonexistent. To make it clear: although I’m not an advocate of conventional film grammar, I do believe a film’s style should fit the content; the shoe should fit the foot. Rapid editing and reckless camera placement/movement may be adequate for an exciting B-grade action film, but not this. Its script is meticulous in its convoluted syntax and rhyme scheme, yet neither Nolan or his editor attempt to match it in their stylistic approach. The sad thing is that I know Nolan is better at this – I saw Memento. This might have made a better novel or a better film helmed by someone else, who wouldn’t shrivel in cluelessness upon embarking on their auteuristic journey.

Now, on that note, I won’t neglect to mention that I did like the ambitiousness of the project: its subversion of standard genre cliches, its lightweight deconstructionism, its scattershot design that sits on the precipice of self-parody, its indictment of elitism – even if its latter goal is astronomically hypocritical as this film is the epitome of bourgeois excess. But it’s an exhausting movie, and its stylistic choices are baffling to me, so if someone could provide a compelling argument for them, please feel free to share.

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