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Tenet (2020)

Genre: Action/Thriller

Rating: 3/5


Yeah, yeah, I know, I still wish I could hear it though

My girlfriend may not like my review, because she really loved Tenet. I, well…I thought it was alright. Of all the Christopher Nolan movies I’ve seen, it isn’t the one that stands out the most to me, and as a Nolan fan, I was expecting…can I say more? Tenet follows an unnamed Protagonist through a mind-bending, time-twisting adventure to fight a war against the future.

Let’s get this out of the way. I can’t sit here and deny that the set pieces and action sequences are great in Tenet. Even when they don’t involve time travel! Protagonist has a kitchen fight scene where he uses tools in the kitchen to his advantage, it’s a great way to learn about his skillset and fight style. The action scenes involving time travel are great too. One moving forwards, the other moving backwards, it must have been hard to choreograph, but it came off really well.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where it stops, in terms of what I liked in Tenet. Don’t get me wrong, the actors do well, and the story itself is compelling…but it’s not a home run. The main device of Tenet is time travel, right? But the technology and theory behind this device is hardly explained, and not very well. Maybe I didn’t get it, but usually, I catch on to these kinds of things. The Protagonist is the person that the audience is learning through, so as he learns and understands things in this world, the audience should at the same rate. Yet, through confusing dialogue, or lack of clear explanation, Protagonist slowly becomes smarter and smarter than the audience and now we have no one to really latch on to. This film desperately needed one scene that flat out told us how this worked. Getting a hint at the beginning, middle and expecting to understand it at the end was not enough.

The sound. Okay I have to talk about the sound. Maybe it was done on purpose, but it is so hard to hear the dialogue. It’s more annoying than anything. Frankly, I don’t care what the artistic purpose behind it is, I just want to hear what’s being said, especially since this is the primary method I have to know what’s going on! Come on, just up the dialogue in your next mix. Please!

Overall, considering how interesting the concept is and that the action, and many set pieces, are really cool and interesting, this film gets a 3/5 from me. Don’t get me wrong, without that it would be a 2/5. The acting is good, but I need to understand what’s going on at least to a degree in order to enjoy this film. At least by the end I should feel educated on how the film works! Would I watch it again? I may in the future, just to give it another shot. Should you watch it? Go for it, Nolan is an important filmmaker in our generation. You might understand it better than me, if you do, let me know the answers in the comment section below.

Tony King

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