Let me start in the spirit of “Tenet”, as I prepare to write this review, you have already read it.
Basically I’m a fan of SF movies, filled with quantum physics, parallel worlds, paradoxes, time travel, different timelines, but Christopher Nolan’s latest achievement turned my brain into a mush (and my favorite series is “Dark”, so go figure). We all know that he has always made movies that are challenging for any SF fan, but this time at least for me, this was one big chaos and far from a masterpiece as they call it.
I will start with the name “Tenet” which is actually a palindrome (Macedonian palindromes: neven, oko, kalabalak) and the first indicator that tells you how to watch the movie, i.e the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. The word itself means principle or belief, something you stick to, something you follow in life (understand Nolan’s intentions as you wish).
First and foremost, when you start watching the movie, you feel like you are half an hour late in the cinema, you sit down to watch it and you have no idea what is happening. That feeling will keep you going for a good hour before you start grabbing pieces of logic in all that chaos. Rule number one, when you watch such movies / series, you will have to have basic knowledge of theoretical, quantum physics, paradoxes, etc. otherwise you will be completely lost. It is especially important here because they are talking about entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, the grandfather paradox, time inversion … which further “tangles the loop”.
The topic covered in “Tenet” is not time travel but time inversion. Let us distinguish, if it was a matter of time travel, the protagonists could immediately go to the exact moment from the past, but in the case of time inversion if the desired moment is say three days ago, the protagonists would have to live thought these three days again while everything around them flows backwards. The rule is that only people and objects are reversible, but not time itself.
In general, it is a war between the present and the future. A woman (scientist) of the future created an Algorithm that would change the course of time, but when she realized what she had created, she inserted the Algorithm into 9 separate artifacts that she placed at different time points around the world in the hope that no one would find them, and in order not to get this information from her, she took her own life. However, the artifacts have been found (it is not explained how they found the other eight) and the people of the future want to reset time or our present to prevent global warming that is destroying their future. The Protagonist (John David Washington) is part of an organization called Tenet that tries to stop that process by using time inversion.
“Tenet” fans say that you have to watch the movie several times to understand the timeline of the characters and see the genius that the film offers. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, it’s certainly interesting but for a series, not a movie. Such a topic packed in two and a half hours is a waste of potential. Too much action, too much happening, horrible music, too loud, too many characters we know nothing about and raise additional questions (like the character of Michael Caine, but since it is a Christopher Nolan film, his appearance is understandable).
I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by Robert Pattinson who is finally coming out of that horrible “Twilight” role that defined him for a long time. Also John David Washington acting was good but it remains to be seen whether he will succeed in reaching the greatness of his father.
Despite all the chaos, watch the movie, it will make you think and find its logic. As for whether it will remain in your memory … we will wait for the future achievement of Nolan that we have already seen.
For Camera Obscura,