Tenet

Tenet

I’ve seen a couple comparisons between this and Mann’s later films. The comparison is unfair (Mann’s films are incomparably better), but the comparison may be illuminating. Blackhat/Miami Vice are romantic, existentialist dreamscapes undergirded by a genuine exploration of the 21st century circumstance. Nolan’s Tenet, on the other hand, has none of Mann’s emotional or intellectual authenticity, it is built out of pseudo-intellectualism, constant erratic momentum, a hodgepodge of metaphysical mumbo jumbo and lifeless emotional platitudes. Where Mann’s films are deceptively simple, Nolan’s is deceptively complex. 

And yet, I can’t shake a sort of absurd appreciation for Tenet. If Blackhat/Miami Vice diagnose and examine our unstable zeitgeist, Tenet is the archetypal symptom of its collapse.
Tediously cool aesthetics.
Mechanical exposition delivered in the flat, unfaltering tone of video game dialogue.
Big Budget Action Sequences.
Thrumming bass swallowing language and rendering it indecipherable.
Head-up-your-own-ass temporal theories with nothing productive to say about time or experience.
Self-important complexities that breed insecurity instead of revelation.
A film that is inadvertently plotless, inadvertently characterless, championing romance without love (and without sex) and theory without praxis.

I don’t love the idea of Nolan congratulating himself for the theoretical bullshit he peppered throughout his action movie, but I can’t deny that this confused mess of a film floats on its own singular vibe, pointing directly at our modern psychosis. 

An accidental anti-cinema typified by anxious momentum and exhausting speculation. And for this, I kind of love it. My favorite Nolan for sure.

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