Tenet is a film which is hard to judge by the conventional norms of screen writing and fundamentals of storytelling. It takes the bold step of challenging these rules and bends reality and perspectives in this action-espionage- thriller time travelling, high concept, fictious film.
But Nolan has already challenged and successfully changed these norms that pertain to storytelling via Following, Insomnia, Memento, Inception, Prestige showing that non- linear and cerebral storytelling can be as compelling as The Avengers.
While Interstellar and Dunkirk may not have been everyone’s favorite, they still had enough ambition and meat to gain success and everyone’s familiar with his dark knight trilogy.
So now what does Tenet bring?
Sadly nothing extraordinary. On a pure technical level, it achieves and goes where films and blockbusters neither tend to nor have the capacity to, resulting in some inventive set pieces that probably only Nolan can have the ambition and skill to stage and execute.
And that’s it. There’s nothing more to this film, the score is phenomenal filling each scene with a lot of energy, it’s well shot as expected, but nothing more.
When your protagonist is called the PROTAGONIST then I think that sets you up for something.
Some action scenes as I said are ambitious but do all of them live up to the billing?
Having seen this film twice(once in a theatre and then on prime), the car chase scene where there are reverse and forward moving cars all involved in a chase is poorly done(Just My Opinion!).
With most cars barely visible because of the shoddy camera work, resulting in an ambitious yet underwhelming action sequence where you are left feeling that maybe you missed something? It could have been better perhaps!
Or maybe that’s the extent to which Nolan could have done?
The finale with inverted and forward people in temporal motion is crazy and yet undermined by the constant inter cutting with other scenes and once again you are left underwhelmed with.
The hallway scene is the one where truly the fight scenes shine with some great and well thought out choreography, while for some it might become too goofy to take it seriously but for me it worked.
The plot is the same as many of the blockbusters Hollywood has churned out, but the screenplay is where Nolan experiments again with a higher sense of self indulgence than ever.
The editing goes from clunky to frustrating, rendering the pace too uneven.
Some scenes are chopped and editing hastily to keep the film going and some just take their own sweet time while revealing next to nothing about the plot and more importantly the characters.
It’s probably impossible for me to break everything down, overall I could conclude that Tenet is an ambitious film on all levels with an emphasis on the technical side a little more than on the characters.
One can call this an ambitious experiment to see what fits and what doesn’t, sadly I don’t think Tenet goes all the way and achieves what it sets out to and crumbles under it’s own overly complicated and dense world of rules and time inversion it creates, resulting in a mind boggling and fascinating and yet somehow an underwhelming film that one can still admire and revisit purely for the effort and ambition that Christopher Nolan had and poured into this film.
Review by Sachin Sisodia / Sachin-73003/ IMDB