TENET (12)

D: Christopher Nolan

Warner Bros/Syncopy (Christopher Nolan & Emma Thomas)

US 2020

150 mins

Science Fiction/Action/Thriller

W: Christopher Nolan 

DP: Hoyte van Hoytema

Ed: Jennifer Lame

Mus: Ludwig Göransson

John David Washington (The Protagonist), Robert Pattinson (Neil), Elizabeth Debicki (Katherine Barton), Kenneth Branagh (Andrei Sator), Dimple Kapadia (Priya), Martin Donovan (Fay), Himesh Patel (Mahir), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ives), Michael Caine (Sir Michael Crosby)

Perhaps it’s a victim of circumstance that Christopher Nolan’s time-travel thriller failed to catch alight at the box office, released in theatres during the 2020 pandemic. That being said, it’s one of his weakest films albeit one which requires multiple viewings if you’re to have any chance of making head or tail of the plot.

John David Washington plays an unnamed protagonist who has to investigate an arms dealer who has a device that allows him to manipulate time.

The opening act of the film is quite incomprehensible, as our protagonist travels from place to place whilst supporting characters explain things to him, and it’s only in the final act that the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together.

The action set pieces and stunt work are all expertly handled, and the cinematography, visual effects and music are all great assets to the film in general, it’s just the characterisation and story which need tightening up here.

Though I am an admirer of Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker, he does have a penchant for making films with a non-linear narrative as his trademark, which is fine, but it should never be necessity to watch a film more than once in order to understand the plot.