Tenet – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Tenet – Espionage and Time: A Paradox of Storytelling

The power of cinema is an endearing feeling that influences fans alike.  Storytelling (on the big screen) brings about a visual prowess that can be truly iconic for years.  In this review, I go into a film that gives you a mystery of elements that pushes you through a realm of the impossible.  Through the eyes of a visionary, Tenet showcases what the art of cinema can be at its finest.

Armed with only a word (Tenet), one man travels around the twilight of international espionage for the survival of the world.  When faced with the paradox of time, will The Protagonist (John David Washington) be able to stop the future threat from taking hold in the present.  Christopher Nolan (director) pushes the ideas of the unknown to its limits in his film.  Like Inception, Memento and Interstellar, he aims to create original stories that take aim at the concepts of time and space.  With this tale, he pushes forward a world that is encapsulated with an unknown threat from the future.  We are brought into the story through the ‘drop-in’ method, living through the eyes of The Protagonist.  The first half is filled with heavy expositional-driven dialogue and espionage tropes.  You watch as The Protagonist goes ‘global hopping’ to discover the truth regarding the current threat and how it ties to the future.  Through the main character, the audience gets loose explanations with a lack of character development.  You are thrust with typical spy/thriller archetypes, but it never takes away from the methodical layers of the world-building, spy/thriller elements and action.  The current-linear progression helps keep you focused on the task at hand.  As each piece of the puzzle comes forth, strange things start to unfold.  The unexplained occurrences are created with tactful purpose, leveling the surreal within the real world.  This creates a sandbox where rules of time are followed, even when things start to move forward and backward simultaneously.  This introduction of inversion shifts the story into something bigger (for the second half).

The second half pushes the concept of the time paradox, taking the current pieces and combines it with rethreading what has already been seen.  This allows for the puzzling questions of what/how things happen to be understand a bit more, leading to how consequences are real at any point of story.  As The Protagonist begins to go ‘backwards’, it unfolds the fantastical with the use of practical effects.  By grounding everything with levels of realism, it allows for the over-the-top action set pieces to have a strong awing effect on the audience.  The destruction is a paradox of its own kind, leveling out the experience within a genuine feeling for the characters.  As all the pieces come together, it leads to a confrontation that pushes the idea of tactical coordination to a whole new level.  This leads into a climax that provides uniqueness of results, but brings everything to a welcoming close.  Tenet is an experience that plays with ideas that allows for the story to unfold familiars within original threads.  Nolan creates a journey that is awe inspiring on many levels of the craft.  If you’re a fan of Nolan or unique/original films, this is one for you. This is a fun time at theaters, worth the full price of admission.     

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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