This couldn’t have been a better film to welcome me back into the cinema after months of social distancing.
On Monday I had the privilege of watching the screening of Christopher Nolan’s latest feature film Tenet at the BFI IMAX cinema. I deliberately went in blind, having watched no trailers and only accompanied with the knowledge that this film starred my future husband, John David Washington.
Tenet is a mind-bending, action-packed, international espionage film which is the latest addition to Nolan’s time-themed features. The inversion of the passage of time is the main concept this film is based on, but to call it a time-travel film would be an oversimplification. I’d be more inclined to describe it as time manipulation.
The intricate rules of manipulating time can be confusing and difficult to follow, especially in the expository dialogue scenes. At some points it can be overwhelming but arguably was needed to explain such a complex concept.
Even the film acknowledges that not everything makes sense and urges the viewers to “try not to understand it” and simply watch the concept unfold throughout the film. The earlier you latch on to the rules of the world in Tenet, the more satisfactory it is to watch as the pieces begin to fit together. As a result, it has excellent re-watch value, as you will definitely notice things you didn’t notice on the first watch.
The film features an impressive combat scene that was superbly choreographed as the assailant appears to fight in reverse. It toes the line of fascinating and disorientating, as it completely compounds the laws of physics and the viewer’s perception of cause and effect. This can potentially add to the confusion of the film and alienate some of the audience, but for those sticking with it the pay-off is awesome.
John David Washington does not disappoint and has an amazing screen presence, as well as an undeniable chemistry with Robert Pattinson who delivers an excellent performance alongside him. If this role is any indication to go by, I have great faith in Pattinson’s upcoming portrayal of Batman.
Although the Russian oligarch archetype is kind of played out in this genre, I have to commend Kenneth Branagh’s versatility in his convincing portrayal of our villain. Honourable mention must go to Elizabeth Debicki who I immediately thought would make a great Princess Diana from her performance in this film, only to find out she is set to play the Princess of Wales in the upcoming season of Netflix’s The Crown. Great minds.
I do think further exploration of the character’s backgrounds would’ve allowed the audience to invest more in their stories and evoke emotional reactions, but that aside, a great film. There is exponential potential for a sequel or film series franchise with Tenet and I think people will be talking about it for a while.