Tenet is a masterpiece – that’s what you want to hear?
Well, It’s not that simple.
I watched the film 2 times back-to-back in iMax theater and it’s worth watching. But again, I said – it’s not that simple.
Like the last 3-4 films of Nolan, there is no point in telling the storyline as it doesn’t give the bigger crux of the plot that the movie is trying to tell us. You have to watch the film. This is Nolan’s achievement since he always comes up with the concept or idea that either no one had ever thought of or done in that way. But his bigger achievement is to lure the audience into the theater, despite the complicated idea of the movie. His movies are intelligent, shark-run paced and heart-thrilling background score; not to forget, his obsession with Time which has now become his signature. Nolan is a brand and is going to be valued and loved by audiences across the world for a long time.
This is where the not-that-simple part comes into the picture.
Exposition and overload of information
Nolan‘s film is usually exposition-heavy which is understandable considering his choices of the topic and genre-bending nature of the story. Tenet actually suffers from it. The movie switches from action to exposition to action to another exposition and so on. There are only a few scenes where the characters are actually taking a breather. This is exactly why you might have heard such complaints about Nolan’s film – “I had a hard time relating to the character.” Which I think was not fair until Tenet happens.
The movie runs and always runs that reminds me of Michael Bay or Fast and Furious series. Do not get me wrong, I am not comparing. Michael Bay is a synonym of bad films with cliches, high octane action (extremely noticeable CGI as well) and woman-degrading at every given chance. No other director can top that and Nolan is a way more intelligent and saner than him as a storyteller. In fact, he is one of the best.
But Tenet, in my view, is the worst among all the Nolan films which, in the absolute sense, is better than average. It is so heavily loaded with scientific theories (which, I believe, are correct since Kip Thorne is the consultant) and ‘next-what’ expositions as a form of dialogues that you need to read in the subtitles even if you understand the words clearly. The beauty of the film is that for someone, as a not-so-science person, can still enjoy the film.
So, too-many-expositions are the only problem?
Character interaction scenes become a job to listen i.e. Boring. However, there are a few interactions with expositions I liked – the scene between Michael Caine & The protagonist (John David Washington) and his first few scenes as well as the last interaction with his pal or partner-in-crime (literally) Robert Pattinson. It is enjoyable due to the actors’ charisma and interactive dialogues. Before I forget, the antagonist shines in almost all his scenes. Elizabeth Debicki character is the only emotional angle of the movie; thankfully at least one such character is there. Her character had a lot to do in this film and she did a fantastic job. Dimple Kapadia character is mainly for expositions but it was a delight to see her in this film.
Second, too much background score just to make the movie thrilling – the same problem, not giving breathing moments.
Third, a very small problem but important – some reaction moments are missing. I understand this since the movie is already too long and thrilling idea work that way mostly but it was needed.
If you don’t understand or agree with me please watch Nolan’s interstellar and Inception – the expositions in terms of dialogue in these two films are on the nose but never bothered me this much. Nolan’s story has a habit of being on the edge of spoon-feeding the audience and Tenet crosses that line.
Where Nolan’s Brilliance Lies
The concept of time inversion (I can’t reveal much obviously) is unique and highly intriguing. I must applaud Nolan for his story and the way he made a balance between science and fiction by introducing many scientifically correct theories with its real-world application and demonstration. All the fight scenes with time inversion and in the inverted world are mind-boggling. It forces you to think how difficult the shoot and editing would have been and He and his team have achieved it.
Thus, Tenet must be watched at most 2 times to fully grasp the plot and to enjoy the adrenaline-filled action scenes.
See I told it’s not that simple.
PS: Have you ever tried experiencing two totally opposite genres on the same day? I did. I was about to finish the novel Gunahon Ka Devta (by Dharmveer Bharti) when I watched Nolan’s Tenet.
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