Man, it felt great to be back at the cinema watching a modern blockbuster. It’s like I went digging in my wardrobe and accidentally found a forgotten childhood treasure and immediately wanted to relive the good old days. So the movie that got me out of the house was Christopher Nolan’s latest effort, Tenet. A film which, for a little while, I was sure I wasn’t going to be seeing until next year, but instead I got the opportunity to see an advance screening of it, so yay I’m ahead of everyone else for once. As Tenet isn’t coming out officially for another week I’ll keep this review concise and spoiler-free.
While the experience of returning to the cinema was really gratifying, I’m not sure if I can say the same about watching the actual movie as I left with very mixed feelings. One of the reasons for that is this movie is trying to be the 2020’s equivalent of another Christopher Nolan film, Inception, a film I have mentioned in the past I did not particularly like. This film’s gimmick is people being able to travel back in time mid action scene, so you could be belting this dude up, but he’s not really feeling that because he’s moving in reverse order to you, or there is a scene with gunshot holes everywhere that won’t mean anything until someone going backwards in time comes along to fire the bullets. Quite a twisted and fresh idea, but this is me just summarizing it for you, so if you intend to see this Christopher Nolan movie then prepare for it to take about three quarters of the film before you even grasp the concept, because he loves making his movies unnecessarily complicated and confusing.
Most of my problems lie with the fact that it’s trying to be like Inception. It’s overly complicated for the sake of it, but not just with the gimmick, also the story. It was very difficult to get into the first hour because the characters are so bland and it’s quite unclear what they’re working towards. My complaint isn’t just that it’s complicated, it’s also a pretty standard action movie if you exclude the cool gimmick.
On to the plus side, once I got my head wrapped around everything I enjoyed the movie more. I did kind of like it beforehand too, on a spectacle level, as like most Nolan films it’s gorgeous to look at. There is a lot of nice scenery accompanied by an energetic thumping score. When the action hits you get the best angles whether it’s far away or in close quarters. Thanks to the time travel stuff they get a bit experimental with the shots and the editing and it all looks really bloody cool. The sound design alone is worth the price of admission and all this technical stuff is the reason why Nolan movies are always best seen in cinemas.
The acting is pretty solid, even though I don’t think they had much to work with. John David Washington is a pretty good lead, but is kind of undermined by Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki who are probably the standouts as they had a bit more going for them. Also Kenneth Branagh made for a pretty intimidating bad guy.
As I said earlier it got better as it went along. Maybe I should watch it again, more so when time travel is involved, because I might like it more then. Well the whole idea of a first impression is to woo me on the first sitting, if not then sorry to disappoint, but my free time doesn’t come cheap and I can’t be assed spending time with something that failed to impress on the first date!
Oh yeah, if you didn’t know I made a new rating system during my limbo period. The link will provide more detail on this rating and more. Tenet was our lucky first contender to try this out. Can’t stress enough how great it was to be back in the dark auditorium while watching the visually pleasing Tenet, story wise it was a bit lacking and I recommend not rushing into this one. I noticed some more movies are on the way in the coming weeks, thank goodness, so please join me then and I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out.