Posted on: September 25, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Andrew Pahl, Movie Reviewer

Movie buffs, film enthusiasts, cinema admirers: It is time to rejoice as movies are back in the theater. While we are not given real clarity on when we will be able to return to the blockbusters that have been delayed, we can at least embrace the first sci-fi action movie leading the charge back to the cinema, ‘Tenet.’  

This film is written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the man behind ‘The Prestige’, ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’, etc. It stars John David Washington as The Protagonist, Robert Pattinson as Neil, and Elizabeth Debicki as Kat. IMDB summarizes the film this way: “Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.” 

This movie has a very thick plot and does not necessarily put character development ahead of the plot. Debicki’s character is the only one that has any sort of emotional story played out through the film. We learn very little about Washington’s character, so little that he does not even have a name, and we only find out a little more at the end of the movie. While Washington, Pattinson, and others are fantastic in the movie, I cannot deny how little I felt invested in the actual characters. It is a difficult movie to understand, and I would not necessarily recommend it to someone who might not fully pay attention to all the details. This is a fast-paced story with dialogue shot at you rapidly and situations not really allowing you to breathe. Even as you find yourself in exposition scenes that attempt to fill in as much detail as possible to guide the viewer, you may feel left in the dark for some time and eventually just going with the flow.

With that being said, the technical aspects of this film are excellent. Almost all of Nolan’s films have well-executed camerawork, music, editing, etc. I cannot give enough praise to the practical effects used in this movie. If you are tired of overused CGI and want more practical effects, this film will definitely appeal to you. From the fight scenes in hallways to the highway chase mixed with the soundtrack that just booms in the air, most moviegoers will be filled with awe. 

However, with so much going on in the plot, by the time the final act starts I find myself just absorbing how incredible the effects are of people and objects moving forward and backwards in time. I can appreciate the unique direction Nolan went in with this film, but I feel like he went too far with the concept of time and the number of layers he had in the plot. 

I would recommend seeing ‘Tenet’ since it is different than what moviegoers get these days. This is definitely a film I would purchase on Blu-ray, when available, and examine thoroughly. I’m going to give ‘Tenet’ 4 out of 5 stars. While character depth is lacking, I cannot deny that I was still heavily invested and stunned by what I saw.