Chances are, if you’re reading this review, you’re wondering if you should brave the trip to the cinema to see Tenet. My short answer: yes, absolutely. You might also want to know if I think Christopher Nolan did the right thing in waiting for cinemas to re-open before releasing Tenet. Again, the short answer: yes, absolutely.
I’ve been to the cinema several times since they re-opened, and have felt safe the whole time. The closest anyone has sat to me is a single seat away (approx. 1m) and then there was no one in the row in front or behind (and I just put my face mask on and it was fine). Most places, you can choose your seats before you get your tickets, so you can choose how close you want to get to other people. I’ve felt safer at cinemas than I have anywhere else, mostly because once people take their seats, they’re down for the duration of the film so the distance is maintained.
Anyway – back to Tenet.
Tenet is the latest film from British writer/director Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Inception, The Dark Knight). The movie stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh and, of course, with an appearance from Michael Caine.
Tenet is a single word (and a gesture) that an agent who is assumed to be dead is given in order to save the world. Fortunately, he does have some other help on his side, though the sources of that help are a little vague. It’s a globe-trotting film with a 150 minute run time (plus trailers!) – definitely opt for the larger size of popcorn or an extra scoop of ice cream! Tenet crams a lot in, and coming out of the cinema, you will genuinely feel like you have been through a lot and are maybe a little bit jet-lagged.
Through a character, the film actually tells us at one point, “don’t try to understand it. Feel it.” It’s good advice. There is plenty to feel too – car chases, a few gadgets and a race against the clock to save the entire universe. Let your subconscious process everything that’s crammed into the movie, and it will make more and more sense over the next few days.
Christopher Nolan has a hardcore group of fans – Nolanites – and something as conceptual as this was always going to be hard to pull off for that reason. It must be both gratifying and frustrating to know that every single detail of every single frame of film will be examined over and over and over. No doubt there are already plenty of forums that have sprung up to discuss the finer details of the story and its world and rules.
Will the action from Tenet look as good on a small screen? Only time will tell. The action certainly looks tremendous on a large cinema screen.
Will this turn out to be the movie that saves cinema from coronavirus? The signs are promising so far.
How much you enjoy Tenet is likely to depend on what type of film fan you are. If you like movies that are cinematic, eye-popping and truly visual, you will probably love it. Christopher Nolan the director has made a tremendous film. If you prefer stories that are coherent, abide by their own rules, and have every neat little detail tied up, you may not enjoy it so much. Christopher Nolan the writer will be answering questions for some time yet.
CONCLUSION: A cinematic spectacle that’s worth leaving home for.
Overall rating: Not everybody’s cup of tea, but definitely worth a look.
[Image via IMDB]