Wednesday, December 16, 2020


I miss blockbusters. Although far from Christopher Nolan's best work, TENET doesn't skimp on spectacle. Tackling perception as he did in Inception, this time around Nolan plays around with the idea of time travel and inversion. The concept is far more clunky than planting an idea within someone's mind. In fact, TENET eventually devolves into little more than super-spy pitting his skills against a villain out to destroy the world. Basically, TENET is Christopher Nolan's version of a Bond film.

The story involves an unnamed spy (John David Washington) introduced into a secret war involving those using entropy to travel backwards in time and alter events in their favor. The science is mostly gobbledygook, but the set-up does allow for some interesting sequences involving characters moving backwards through events a second time. Kenneth Branagh is fine as the evil mastermind, although his evil Russian act isn't as much fun as it was in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

TENET works as an action movie. It's more lacking in terms of a puzzle movie or higher-concept sci-fi as the idea of inversion turns out to rather limited (catching bullets in a gun is cool, but less so if you can only catch the bullets you shot). To up the stakes, the script is forced to put the entire world at risk which is where movie finds its stride hiding as much action flick cliché as possible behind flashy sequences and pseudo-science. Hell, we even get a subplot of our hero saving the girl (Clémence Poésy). TENET is far from perfect, and not nearly good enough for the amount of discussion it has generated about its plot, but it would have made for a fun summer popcorn flick. And at least it's not as pretentious as Dunkirk.

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