Before You Watch: Tenet

With theaters reopening these past few weeks, movie-goers finally can scratch that itch of eating popcorn, relaxing and enjoying a film in a theater. Audiences were able to experience ‘The New Mutants”, “Bill & Ted Face the Music”, and “The Broken Hearts Gallery” within the few weeks of theaters opening up again. However, the highly anticipated film of the year was Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet “(2020). This begs the question: is “Tenet” good and worth to attend in theaters?            “Tenet” is Christopher Nolan’s fourteenth directed film and its synopsis on IMDb says, “Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a missions that will unfold in something beyond real time.” With the synopsis stated, I would like to split this discussion into non-spoiler and spoiler sections to go into depth about the story Nolan crafted for his audience.

“Tenet” is a cinema spectacle that demands viewing on a movie screen to get the full experience Nolan intended it to be. Time travel is a crucial aspect of Tenet’s magic, as it is put out on full display for the audience to enjoy and piece together the scenes that happen. Nolan’s continuation of time in his films can be traced back to debut blockbuster film Momento (2000). The film may be troubling for some viewers because of the vague nature presented to the audience. It truly is a “twilight world,” that demands a lot from the audience to understand, which is respectfully given to the audience. While this might be off-putting for some viewers, Nolan respects his audience enough to construct the meaning behind the plot and characters’ actions—in its messy time frame and all. The craft and care put into the film forces the audience to either view the film a second time or read a review article online to get what happened. However, all this confusion yields a beautifully crafted and sequenced story that requires critical thinking to decipher it all. A critique on the film is Nolan’s habit of allowing his composer’s music (Ludwig Göransson) to trump the characters’ dialogue to emphasize a dramatic scene or casual conversation.

So, should you watch “Tenet” in theaters? Simply put, yes. If you have been longing for a film in theaters, then yes (but stay safe and maintain social distancing). If you want a good movie that makes you think, then “Tenet” might be the movie for you. Score: 4 out of 5 jalapeños.

So, what went right and wrong in “Tenet”? As previously mentioned, “Tenet” severely lacked in the character development department for most of its characters. This does not mean that its characters are terrible, but the audience does not feel too much attachment during high stakes moments or throughout the plot. The only hints of true character development are delivered between the protagonist, John David Washington, and Kat, Elizabeth Debicki. The subtle romance plotline did offer some stakes for both characters as they had to oppose the films villain Victor played by Kenneth Branagh. Moreover, Elizabeth Debicki’s character received more development than our protagonist because her story dealt with escaping her abusive relationship with Victor throughout the film. Other characters like Robert Pattinson’s Neil arrive in the story with no proper explanation until the movie ends, when viewers learn he is from the future and sent by the protagonist later in time.

This could bring down the plot for some viewers, along with the convoluted story; however, “Tenet” is a spectacle that requires viewing through the large screen at a movie theater. So go ahead and order your tickets now for “Tenet”!

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