Tony's Take

TENET review

We Live in a Twilight World

And there are no friends at dusk.  Welcome to “Tenet”, the latest masterpiece in Christopher Nolan’s awe-inspiring, genre-defying catalog of greatness.    The film opens in Ukraine at the National Opera House as an orchestra performance is about to begin.  As the conductor raises his arm, terrorists emerge and begin attacking those in-attendance.  We then see The Protagonist (John David Washington) in a van outside as SWAT arrives on the scene.  First slapping patches on their arms to blend in, their team enters the Opera House to extract someone whose cover is blown.  But things don’t go according to plan and the Protagonist finds himself lost, but with a new opportunity on the horizon.  A word is given to him, tenet, which introduces him to a World beyond his immediate understanding.  As he quickly learns deadly new secrets, he is thrown across the Globe at the fate of the World rests in his hands.  With the help of a new side partner named Neil (Robert Pattinson), The Protagonist must hunt down Russian billionaire Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh, in the most evil role of his life) at all costs; even if that means using his estranged wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) along the way.

Where to begin?!  First of all, it feels AMAZING to finally be back inside a movie theater.  And it only took 174 days!  I am a massive Christopher Nolan fan (our generation’s Spielberg), so I went it with high expectations and “Tenet” absolutely surpassed them!  The film starts with a bang!  An eye-popping attack inside an Opera House, with gunshots rattling-off and Ludwig Göransson’s pounding, dramatic score pouring into your ear drums.  While some of the early critiques have been the film’s volume, I can only laugh.  Nolan LOVES the drama of sound, think back to “The Dark Knight” and the bank robbery scene, also with “The Dark Knight Rises” we could barely understand Bane at times, and remember “Dunkirk”?  Nolan has always used the power of sound in his films and “Tenet” raises the bar as well.  Coupled with the sound is the relentless, non-stop action.  So many different, incredible sequences and stunts that leave you in awe; wondering how they were able to film it even.

Another hit on the film has been its character development; which I wholeheartedly disagree with.  It’s not that the characters are one-dimensional, it’s that they’re intentionally left vague as to not steal away from the mind-bending exposition at work.  At no point did I find myself unattached to the characters; even the minor characters played by Himesh Patel, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Dimple Kapadia, Clémence Poésy, and Michael Caine are exquisite and full on intrigue.  One of the film’s greatest successes, aside from its cinematic-elevating action, is its intricate, tightly-woven story.  Do your best to soak it in, not necessarily understanding all of it the first time.  Let if wash over you like the waves from “Inception”.  As the pieces come together, more and more will make sense and you’ll be more appreciative while you think about the film long-after the credits have finished rolling.  “Tenet” is everything I wanted it to be and so much more!  A stunning, powerful action spectacle that makes you think, but entertains your from start-to-finish.  Thank Christopher Nolan, thank you for another ravishing entry in your overly-impressive catalog.  It’s my favorite film of 2020 so far and I cannot wait to see it again!

In what feels like years since the last major motion picture, “Tenet” is 100% the perfect film to bring audiences back to theaters!  It has everything you want: pulse-pounding action, an intricate plot that keeps your mind racing, and an entertaining group of characters that keep you enthralled for every moment of the film’s 150 minute run time.  On a personal note, the Marcus Wehrenberg Ronnie’s 20 IMAX did an excellent job of spacing-out seating and allowing moviegoers (including myself) to feel more than comfortable.  While I know many will wait much longer before returning, all I can say is they have taken the proper precautions and are read for your return!


TENET is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some suggestive references and brief strong language, in theaters SEPTEMBER 3RD!