Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Tenet Movie Review

John David Washington stars in Tenet

Singed but Salvageable

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Armed with only one word - Tenet - and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh

What's Good: The opening is a literal blast, followed by a few good scenes featuring a "fresh as a daisy" Washington, opposite an impressive assortment of co-stars (Sir Michael Caine, we speak your name.) Then comes the nonsense...

What's Not: Time inversion. It supposedly took Christopher Nolan over five years to write the screenplay, and it shows. I kinda followed what was going on, but it reminded me of my high school geometry class... I passed, but I have no idea how. Why does Nolan feel the need to challenge his audience (at the expense of entertaining it?)

P.S. Tenet gets lost on a smaller screen, so try to see it on IMAX (AMC Tysons Corner 16) if possible. As for sound, prepare to be (literally) blown away by some of the worst sound mixing in recent memory. It's so bad, you'll wish for subtitles during several (already confusing) scenes. How on Earth, did this get past the editing process?

Budget: $200 million (and evidently none of it spent on sound.)

Runtime: 150 minutes (First time I've ever fallen asleep at one of Nolan's movies. Two and a half hours is an awfully big ask.)

Target Audience: Moviegoers who like action and confusion + those annoying pricks, who love explaining it (after reading about it later.)

Bottom Line: Nolan missed the boat (pun intended) with Dunkirk, and seems to do it again with the hotly anticipated Tenet. Washington is a fresh face with lots of charisma (espresso, takeout) but I'm not sure he's ready to carry a summer blockbuster all by his lonesome. As I mentioned before, the first hour is really good, followed by another 90 minutes of unnecessary stupefaction (finally, I get to use that word in a review!) The last 30 might bore you into a coma (yes, it's that bad.) That said, what else are you going to do/see this week?

GradeC+ (It's been six years since Interstellar. Let's hope Nolan finds his magic touch again.)