Of course, one of the central characters is the science behind Tenet‘s secrets. Not spoiling anything, but let’s say it’s complicated but makes sense. It’s based on science(ish) as Nobel Prize winner Kip Thorne was consulted for the production, similarly to Interstellar, although this is less of a philosophical/ spiritual head-scratcher.
What can be said about the film and Nolan’s career evolution is that there’s something very fresh about it. It bears all his marks, and yet there’s something that we haven’t seen from him before. Whereas his previous few films were all about intensity, dread, and visual marvels, here the actions feel different. No less intense but with a different coating, making them feel more swift and powerful (observable in most of the fight scenes). Something he must have brought with him from Dunkirk‘s overall sense of urgency.
In the same manner, the new film benefits from a pressing and stressfully fitting score. Yet another thing that makes Tenet so great and earning a spot in the pantheon of those INTENSE flicks keeping us alert on the edge-of-our-seats nonstop for hours without even blinking for fear of missing out. Ludwig Göransson is back at it with blasting tracks. Alas, an essential reason to watch this in a state-of-the-art facility with sound so loud it will literally rattle you from your seat! We can tell this is not the usual Nolan/ Zimmer combo since, to one’s chagrin, the famous “Braaams” are missing. But Göransson has other tools in his shed to bring it up a notch.
“…no matter how many beans spilled, one would still go home mindblown with like 1000 questions for the Reddit-hole…”
The music is not as melodic or “hummable” as his work on The Mandalorian or Black Panther but award-worthy all the same (so to are the sound mixing and editing). He created something extraordinarily tense that, combined with the terrific sight, de rigueur editing, and the aforementioned bonkers practical effects, make a complete audio-visual experience from the first second. Additionally, the zippy score, along with Washington’s naturalistic acting and witty exchanges with a “casual hip” Pattisson, bring a certain freshness to the whole affair.
Nonetheless, Tenet came with its welcomed load of exposition. For some reason, there is a little bit more explanation than one would have predicted, but don’t be fooled, there’s still not enough for you to wrap your head around things completely. And like Dunkirk, you might have to really listen to make out what people say under their masks. The irony that masks play such a vital part in this movie somehow should have been more exploited in their marketing. But enough is said to get a clear picture of what is happening without feeling dumber than average. Hence, some might stick the expected “pretentious” label onto it, but who doesn’t love a pretentious movie when it’s made in a brilliant way only geniuses could have thought up.
It might be bad to say this out loud considering what some now think of Nolan and his insistence of having this play in theaters (who insist on selling food and drink to be consumed mask off!), where this could eventually end up killing people. Thus, some might argue that there is nothing “genius” about this movie, and that’s enough to not bother seeing Tenet at all. Add in that it’s also one of those “brainy” movies that predictably some might not “get” and the fact that some might not get to see it “properly,” and voila, controversy before the movie had even been released.
But in the end, hate it or love it, Tenet demands to be seen at least once. Maybe even twice, to fully grasp and appreciate it without worrying about the plot. Tenet is a film that will stay with you forever from its first scene, one that will tempt you to revisit it in part or as a whole, and that really tells you what it is: a masterpiece.
"…will stay with you forever...one that will tempt you to revisit it in part or as a whole..."