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Review Tenet (2020): Proof that Christopher Nolan is not clever at all and simply about the gimmicks.

genre: action, science fiction








Christopher Nolan on his own is just a director who is all about concepts and gimmicks. And there is nothing wrong with that if he would go beyond them and actually makes a point. The few times he did was when the scripts were written by his brother Jonathan Nolan. And if you didn't know, let me school you. He is the real genius in the family.

At least he is capable of writing characters who act like humans would. Who are able to act and feel real people would. Christopher Nolan's characters are all in service of the gimmick like NPC's who just give you the illusion they are vital. Sure to an extent they are. But you can't really root for them since it's hard to really care for them because Christoper Nolan doesn't know how to. That being said the protagonist might be the first to be able to a lot with minimal means. And I think that is John Washington's doing. He acts with his eyes and makes you root for him even if at times it's a little unclear what he actually is doing. He basically is a selfless spy who goes above and beyond to fulfill his mission or duty no matter what it is. Reminds you of anyone? Yep, comparisons have been made but this is the closest thing to a black James Bond you are going to get. I wouldn't mind the protagonist returning in his own film series. Only preferably without Christopher Nolan's involvement. Then I would rather opt for his brother Jonathan who made one of the best live action Batman shows without Batman in it. I am of course talking about Person of Interest. John Reese, referred to the man in the suit, was a Batman figure who fought crime in a city as dark and gritty as Gotham. Person of Interest was more than a crime show. It actually explored and challenged you with themes that are very prominent today. On top of that the writing is stellar. Even shady and hateful characters you will learn to appreciate since almost all of the characters have depth. 

For once I would like to see characters who are deep and who you can root for without the gimmick. Take Kenneth Branagh as Sator for example. He is exactly the type of villain you would expect in a Bond film. Plain evil without any redeeming qualities. I would have liked it to see where from several perspectives Sator could be seen as the protagonist and the protagonist as the villain. It would have made things far more compelling. Elizabeth Debicki as Kat who I really liked in Man from Uncle was highly annoying. We are supposed to care for her just as the protagonist does. Only she manages to make things even more difficult for him when it's most vital for her to keep cool. He shakes it off like it's nothing. I on the other hand have been forced to come up with punishments and all kinds of cruelties in my mind she should be subjected to. I can tell you I am not a saint like the protagonist.

The gimmick of course is " time inversion ". Yes, it looks very cool and neat on the screen. But does it enhance the action scenes for example? In some scenes yes in others no. Most of the time you just go with the spectacle (as you are supposed to) but even when willing and able it's quite confusing to follow what is going on. Because all of the characters look like each other. You can't make out who is who and so you are just watching a bunch of people battling it out where eventually one or two of them do things that stand out from the rest. They are the characters you are supposed to be following. You probably thought I was going to say the story was complicated. Apart from certain terminology the plot is pretty straightforward and quite simple once you realize and understand what the gimmick entails. Honestly I wasn't really impressed. I am sure that technically it was difficult to accomplish especially since apparently very little CGI has been used. So almost everything is practical. And yes that is something I admire. However it doesn't really affect the viewing experience that much since the story and characters are pretty bland. There is nothing truly compelling other than the action which is enjoyable as long as it lasts.

That being said this is not Christopher Nolan's worst. Actually I hardly noticed the 150 minute duration. Still in hindsight there is very little about this film that will stick with you. The concept, premise or gimmick is not as compelling as you expect it to be. Nothing truly compelling is being done with it. For a one time watch this is OK. There have been people saying that you will enjoy the film a whole lot better the second time since being aware of the events and how the gimmick is used will make you pay attention to other things. It doesn't really matter though since it has no impact on any of the characters. So it's rather pointless to watch it a second time!




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