Tenet is a film that is flashy, creative, original and mind-boggling. From time reversing to confusing transport chases and special combat sequences, it is a unique and peculiar film. However, it is still wondrous and thrilling to watch with high-quality cinematography and great characters.
Christopher Nolan, Tenet’s director, delivers the message of manipulating time wisely. This movie is about The Protagonist (John David Washington) and Neil (Robert Pattinson), his handler, using and experimenting with the flow of time with their team, “Tenet”, to prevent World War III from happening.
The film takes place in multiple countries, including India, UK, and Estonia, giving the audience a feeling of pacing and beauty throughout the film. The scenes are shot well, but there are abrupt cuts at some points. However, the time-manipulation is shot methodically to help the audience feel included. The practical and visual effects were appreciated as well. It feels and looks good on the big screen with the use of the new IMAX cameras, which is fitting for this film.
The abundance of characters leads to a lack of relatability as some do not receive enough screen time, leading to boredom when they do get the limelight. However, the plot helps balance this out by using the characters in flashbacks to carry the story along. Washington plays his role flawlessly, making The Protagonist sound clever such as when he uncovers clues about time-manipulation at an attack scene. Neil adds humor in serious scenes and explains the plot through expositions and his actions, making his character more appealing than others. In spite of the tremendous acting, there were boring sequences as well, such as the exposition dumps to explain the plot and dialogue being hindered by the sound mixing of the score and effects. Thus, making the characters even more unrelatable. Despite that, the characters were written well, making Tenet unique.
Ludwig Göransson, a Swedish composer, was keen on using the music score as a way to guide the mood of this film. The music and the sound brought out the energy of the action, espionage, and sequences entailing time-manipulation. With heavy and fast-paced synths to slow and cautious notes, the score kept me interested when watching the film. There was never a moment where I felt Göransson had missed an opportunity. For instance, an initial SWAT mission was complemented by a fast and heavy synth wave mixed with snares and basses, making the scene action packed. Then, during an interrogation scene, the music plays out guitar notes of the score, causing anticipation and caution in the audience.
The plot might confuse some, but by the second act of the film, everything from minor details to big plot holes starts coming together. Tenet uses time, both literally and metaphorically, to resolve mysteries. This is unique, as many other movies tend to lack a resolution or clarification to their plots. Using time helps make things more creative and tend to hook the audience in a way that is genius and remarkable.
Overall, Tenet is a solid movie made to surprise and amaze the audience, despite the start being slower. From the music score to the action sequences and cinematography, everything is meaningful. Tenet’s time-manipulation based plot will amaze you, leaving you in for a wild ride.