Tenet is Next Level Cinema

“See you in the beginning.”

If director Christopher Nolan is from this century, you could have fooled me. Maybe I should write this review backward, sideways, non-linear, because his latest work Tenet is cinematically not of this world, or of modern comprehension. 

Yes, the $200 million-plus global espionage thriller is confusing. Very confusing. And with a run-time of 2.5 hours, it’s a lot to digest in one sitting.

Buckle up, take your adderall, and don’t leave your seat for a second, or you may miss the entire movie.

-No Spoilers-


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.

So what’s it really about? Time travel to save the world? Not quite, so don’t think you’ve fully grasped it yet.

Cast member Robert Pattinson revealed last month the movie is not about time travel, and the “Tenet” official trailer brought forward the idea of “time inversion.” ​​“This film is not a time-travel film,” Nolan said. “It deals with time and the different ways in which time can function. Not to get into a physics lesson, but inversion is this idea of material that has had its entropy inverted, so it’s running backwards through time, relative to us.”​​ via Collider.

Tenet proposes the idea that this espionage deals with a global threat to the world; a nuclear holocaust is not the greatest threat to the human race, not even close. “Tenet discusses a worse possibility wrapping itself up in a mind-boggling treatment of time that continues Nolan’s preoccupations in films way back to Memento through Interstellar and Inception.” via IndieWire.

While watching the trailer, you have to wonder…just how big is Tenet? We already know the director purchased an old Boeing 747 airplane so that he could blow it up during a massive action set piece, and now comes word from Nolan himself that at one point during the making of Tenet his team was responsible for “one of the largest-scale outdoor builds of all time.” Nolan dropped the reveal in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, adding, “It’s colossal.”    

And hey, dad…guess what?? Tenet contains no green screens, just practical effects. This includes the inversion sequences, for which director Christopher Nolan chose instead to shoot each scene twice: one time moving forward, and once with the actors doing everything backwards.

From what I’ve noticed, critics hate Tenet. Loathe it. Dismissing this epic as “more confusing than exciting” and “a step backward in Nolan’s career,” I’m here wondering if we all saw the same movie? As my first cinematic (safely socially distanced) experience back in theaters, this is one of the smartest movies I’ve seen in a long time. I was on the edge of my seat, wide-eyed, heart-racing the entire time.

It’s a lot. This movie is a lot. The cast is stupendous; this movie actually finally made me appreciate Robert Pattinson as stellar actor and a great choice for the next Batman (Bond, anyone??).

See Tenet, see it in theaters, and try not to lose focus.

14 thoughts on “Tenet is Next Level Cinema”

  1. I’ve been curious about Tenet since I heard about this time inversion idea. I’m not sold but I’ll definitely see it when I’m ready to do stuff like that again. Great write up without spoilers.

  2. Well…so far the only Nolan movie I didn’t enjoy was Dunkirk (but I’m in the minority for that so hey, what do I know). Either way…I’m very much looking forward to seeing this film, and really can’t wait for it. Terrific review and I’m glad you enjoyed it!😀

      1. Haha, I loved Inception. It’s a film that also very difficult to understand, and I also watched it multiple times before everything fell into place. As for Dunkirk, it’s on my rewatch list, so who knows I might like it better the second time😊😊

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