Friday, September 11, 2020

Tenet Review: Critic Goes to Theater for First Time In Six Months for Great Movie

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2020 at 7:27 PM


Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is the sort of movie you just need to take in the first time without trying to figure out what’s going on. If your brain picks up on shit, and you figure stuff out on first viewing, fine. If not, relax, because it all does make sense in that Christopher Nolan puzzler sort of way. You’ll figure it out later.

After many postponements, Hollywood has rolled the dice and put Tenet exclusively in theaters during a time when films like Mulan (exclusively on Disney+) and Bill and Ted Face the Music (combo of streaming and limited theatrical engagement) dabble with new release formulas.

Yeah, I risked life and limb to go to a local theater and watch this on an IMAX screen. Quality of the film aside, I must confess, this was probably the most fun I’ve had since closing the vault door to my apartment 6 months ago and staying in there every day. With the exception of a daily walk and some store runs, I’ve been shut in.

So, it was a wow moment for me to plant myself in a theater chair for the first time in half a year and get my ears and face blasted with a Nolan film. And it’s a good one at that.

John David Washington plays a character called “The Protagonist,” an agent of some sort on a mission to find pieces of a complex puzzle to save the world. That’s it. That’s all I’m telling you about the plot. Robert Pattinson (recently sidelined on The Batman shoot due to testing positive for COVID) is a terrific sidekick as another mysterious agent, Elizabeth Debicki mesmerizes as Kat, the troubled wife of Andrei, a nasty, nasty guy played by Kenneth Branagh.

Visually stunning and, yes, at times totally confusing, the movie pays off in the end with revelations that tie things up enough for you to leave the theater satisfied, and perhaps spend the next five days putting remaining mystery bits together. I can tell you I’ve already had a couple of fun conversations about Tenet with my brother where we argue over what certain things meant. I love movies that spark that kind of conversation.

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