Film review: Tenet

Hey everyone, it’s been a minute or 5 months since we had more than a handful of new films to talk about. I sure as hell wasn’t paying $25 for Bill and Ted 3, King of Staten Island, or the Mulan reboot. But thankfully, on 9/4, theaters in NJ reopened and I made sure I was at the earliest possible showing of Tenet so as to avoid large crowds of people that talk amongst themselves or spread contagion.

This was one of the films I had circled as Nolan ALWAYS gets my $15 but as we’ve said on http://www.guttingthesacredcow.com podcast (And for god sakes, go to the website to buy a shirt, bag, hat, etc as well as follow our articles every M-F. Shame on you if you’re missing out on the best movie podcast out there. And Kevin Israel and I have guested on enough to know we’re better than all of them.) that we were both worried about Tenet from the trailer.  Hell, even the actors in the film didn’t understand the story.  https://screenrant.com/tenet-movie-plot-time-travel-inversion-confused-actors/

I mean, that can’t be good but hell, that’s not stopping me.  And even Nolan’s last 3 films (we’ve done Interstellar and Inception on the podcast, make sure you give them a listen!) were beautifully shot but man, those story lines missed the mark.  So even with all the odds stacked against it, I anxiously awaited this along with the opportunities to eat overpriced pretzel bites with synthetic nacho cheese in a semi-reclining chair.  So what did I think?

So what is Tenet?  It’s a combination of time-reversal and inversion.  It’s kinda sorta like the Matrix where you can manipulate physics.  But unlike the Matrix, I can’t fully explain how Tenet works.  John David Washington (Denzel’s kid and boy, does he have the same voice as his old man) plays, “The Protagnosist” who passes a test to be recruited for the Tenet organization.  He needs to meet up with an arms dealer and is escorted by Robert Pattinson, without diamonds in his face for a change, to Mumbai.  Then they need to break into a holding area for an artwork at the Oslo airport but hell, let’s use an airplane crashing into said area as a diversion.  Huh?  Why?  

And then, this story becomes even more convoluted than Interstellar and Inception combined.  Then the Protagonist and Edward the vampire goes after Russian arms dealer because he found as a teenager in Russia a missing plutonium case placed back in time by the Tenet organization to create an algorithm to destroy the world? Yeah, that was a run on sentence as this whole plot is a complex, run-on MESS.  You know what else they don’t have in this film?  Character development.  Insanely little backstory regarding their arcs so you feel nothing for them or care about them in the least.  

 I’ve never walked out of a theater with more questions in my history as a film fan.  I must’ve said to myself, “huh, what, why” in that order at least 10 times throughout this film.  Nolan went ABOVE and BEYOND testing my patience with all of these subplots, backstory, and choices he made.  I’m not going to list all the questions I had because if you see this, you’ll have the same ones I did.  I think I’m a reasonably smart guy but I was lost from the end of the first act onward.  I picked up a few things here and there but the majority of this film, I spent trying to piece together the answers.  I suppose if I see this again, I’ll have a better understanding.  But EVEN with all of the answers, I highly doubt the payoff is worth it.  I looked at my watch at least 5 times through this 2.5 hour affair.  At least Inception and Interstellar had some very cool effects/scenes whereas this one doesn’t.  We’ve seen time reversal in Dr. Strange.  And notably absent from this film is Hans Zimmer as Zimmer chose to score the Dune reboot instead of this.  Not saying that Zimmer’s score would’ve saved this debacle by any stretch.  I promise you that the people who say they love this didn’t understand the process but want to seem intelligent to others by liking it.

I absolutely hated this film and wish my return to the theater would’ve been more enjoyable but hey, even Babe Ruth didn’t bath 1.000.  Let’s cross our fingers that the new Bond meets expectations.

I give this a 3/10, major disappointment and easily Nolan’s worst film to date.   Here’s hoping he breaks his 4 game losing streak with his next project.

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