“Tenet” Review

Carson Zorn, Writer

Now that movie theaters have reopened, Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated film “Tenet” is finally out. I ventured to the movie theater to see it, and it was 100% worth it. 

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. This is a Christopher Nolan film revolving around a form of time travel, so certain aspects of the movie will be confusing for the vast majority of the run time, until it all makes sense in the third act. Don’t let the confusion you feel in the first half of the movie detract from your overall enjoyment, because it all makes sense by the third act, I promise. Speaking of the third act, it is by far the best part of the movie. The last hour of the movie is almost non-stop action with amazing visuals, and mind-blowing reveal after mind-blowing reveal. I can’t talk about the third act too much without totally spoiling the movie, so I’m not going to go too in depth with it, but the third act is what made me fully embrace how incredible the movie is. 

The action throughout the film is outstanding as well, not just in the third act. While the third act is almost non-stop action, the action scenes scattered throughout the first two acts are phenomenal as well. From the fight choreography to the editing, all the action scenes are immensely enjoyable, and, unlike most action movies today, I could actually tell what was going on in the action scenes. The action scene that really sticks out in my mind is one that takes place in an airport, and that’s all I’ll say. What makes the action so incredible in this movie is the time inversion aspect of the film. So some action scenes happen backwards, in a sense, which makes watching them much more interesting than the usual generic Hollywood action scenes.

While there are some plot holes, overall the story flows very well, and the writing appears to have been very well thought out. There are some scenes that are a little exposition heavy, but they are necessary in order to explain the concept of time inversion in the film. There isn’t a whole lot of character development in the movie, with the exception of The Protagonist (and yes, that’s the main character’s name, I checked), but I don’t think Nolan was really going for character development when writing the script, so I can’t fault the movie too much in that regard.

But what really makes this movie fantastic is the acting. Every actor and actress knocks it out of the park in this movie with their performance, but especially John David Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki. Those three in particular really flesh out their characters, and allow the audience to connect and understand their morals and goals. You really are rooting for each of their characters to get what they are looking for. The only actor/character that felt a little out of place was Kenneth Branagh as Andrei Sator. Branagh doesn’t give a poor performance, his character was just very over-the-top in a movie that tried to keep it’s characters grounded in reality. 

As far as complaints about the movie, I don’t really have that many. Could it have been shorter? Probably, but I enjoyed every second of the movie and have no clue what I would cut out. My only real complaint is that sometimes the music and or sound effects overpower the dialogue in certain scenes, and I was left playing catch up as to what the characters were doing or were about to do. 

“Tenet” is without question another masterpiece by Christopher Nolan, and like most of his movies, it requires multiple viewings to fully comprehend and enjoy. But, I enjoyed it so much on the first viewing that I wouldn’t mind going to see it again.


Grade: A