“Tenet” pushes time, cinema to its limits


Courtesy / Warner Bros.

Simon Wagner, Columnist

With some of the biggest set pieces and action sequences since the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, Christopher Nolan conjures up yet another brilliant epic to add to his filmography. 

Set in the present day, “Tenet” follows our protagonist as he sets off to save the world from mass extinction. What unfolds in front of him, as well as the viewers, is a mind-bending espionage mission that deals with time and the inversion of it.

I am going to try and keep this review as spoiler-free as possible since I know that this is one of the most anticipated films of the year. 

Let’s start with the man himself: Mr. Nolan, the man whose brain operates in a completely different stratosphere from anyone on Earth and who somehow knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to making an unsensible idea make sense.

This is Nolan’s biggest film to date. I’m not saying it’s his greatest — hell, I’m not even saying it’s in his top five. But what you can appreciate the most from this movie is that he is throwing a million darts at the board and hitting the bullseye more often than not. Nothing is more true than when it comes to his creation of the action sequences. 

Those of you who are familiar with Nolan’s work know that he is a stickler for practical effects. Everything in this movie makes you realize just how much freedom Nolan had, and how much the studio trusted him when backing him with hundreds of millions of dollars for these scenes. 

Though these sequences are grand and inventive, what gives them a sense of character is the actors. What John David Washington and Robert Pattinson bring to the screen is a yin and yang of unknowable destiny. Both of them complement each other so well that every scene they are in together flows effortlessly. Washington, our protagonist, really seems to ironically play such a serious role with great charm and wit. For a man whose job is to save humanity, he really makes it seem like he is having some fun along the way.

After taking a break from the big-budget “Twilight” series, and focusing on roles in indie films such as “High Life,” “Good Time,” and “The Lighthouse,” Robert Pattinson has established himself as one of the purest talents of his generation. He puts it all on display here as his cool, calm and reserved approach to his character, Neil, results in an excellent payoff. Those concerned about his take on Batman should have nothing to worry about. 

Film editor Jennifer Lame is tasked with the most complex movie she’s had to piece together, and she does so with such mastery that her first big-budget film most certainly won’t be her last.

Ludwig Göransson, the composer, also excels. The music Göransson creates by experimenting with sound is genuinely futuristic. There is almost nothing more exciting in film than a unique musical score, and if you listen carefully, Göransson delivers. 

Christopher Nolan has crafted the biggest movie of the year, and it demands to be (safely) seen on the big screen.