Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."


Review: Tenet – “Fresh, bold, and innovative —and convoluted, smart-arsed and desperate. All at the same time.”

In true Christopher Nolan style, I’ve written this backwards. I started to think about how I’d ended up in the cinema, for the first time in 150 odd days and couldn’t stop. It was… …Cathartic.

If you want to see what it took for me to finally see this bloody film, read below the jump. If you don’t care and are just here for the mark out of *****, you’ll only leave disappointed and you shouldn’t care, anyway. Based on Twitter, most of you have already made your mind up and, as far as I can see, most of you haven’t even seen it yet.

Having survived the screening my initial reaction is that the film manages to be everything people will have hoped and feared.  It manages to feel fresh, bold, and innovative —and convoluted, smart-arsed and desperate. All at the same time.

I sit proudly in the camp that loved it.

It is truly a bold piece of work that reminded me of Inception. That initial gasp as someone who is thinking so high level — so far out of the box — that they can’t see the box.

Regardless of what you think of Nolan — and whether he did/didn’t push for the theatrical release — you have to admire the sheer balls. This is very much Warner Bros. leaving him an empty cheque book and, for once, I can see it all up on the screen. There will be fascinating documentaries on the visual effects work, and hopefully, some crucial diagrams to help me/us? understand the gaps.

It’s hard to stress how much cinema in current 2020 needs TENET. I’ve seen people already frustrated at how screens are ‘TENET’, ‘TENET’, ‘TENET.” I get it, but I also think that’s the point.

Cinema needs a benchmark and needs something to look up to at the moment. Crowe driving over cars is a good start, but this feels grandiose in a way that others just can’t get near.

Bravo for the secrecy.
Bravo for the scale.
Bravo for doubling down and just running headfirst into the fire — often backwards.

It’s really quite wonderful, the more I reflect on it.

Anyone not bought in, or already anti-Nolan/release schedule, won’t have to work hard to pull it apart. I’m sure there will be many more flow diagrams explaining just why it doesn’t make sense. Aside from trying to draw my own to explain what I think I know to my Dad, I won’t be paying much attention to them.

There are editing issues. There are clear cuts from violence that make no sense (a car getting shot at and bodies hit, but the tyres are what end up getting shot, eh?) eh?}, but we’ve seen it all before.

The music is bombastic and initially, with masks on, it is almost like Nolan is taking the Mickey. You couldn’t understand Bane? Wait until you get a load of an opening where everyone has masks on.

Again, you have to sit and applaud it.

I’m keen to see it again. I’ll definitely make the effort to pick the quietest, loudest, biggest screen I can. Because, contrary to popular belief, this isn’t meant to be viewed longways on your iPhone — and certainly not via an Avatar on ‘Fortnite’.

If you go, I hope you enjoy it. Most importantly: Stay safe.

If you go and it doesn’t live up to it — hey, better that, than not seeing it at all, right? Even if you go and feel nothing — extremely unlikely I feel — what if it hasn’t even happened yet? What if the ones you talk to about it, don’t — or can’t — talk back?

Oh, OK. I don’t normally give a score, but…

When you’re shielding for 139 days a lot goes through your mind.

You start to wonder if you actually climb walls — and if you can, whether it’ll be Andrew Garfield levels of cool or more Brundlefly.

Where will you go first? What’s the view you miss the most? What if you get writer’s block? Will you be the one axing doors or will you be the one being cobbled for being insufferable?

All of these things on repeat. Over and over and over.

When I look back, most of them were quite rational thoughts. I admit, I over thought whether a boy will ever swim faster than a shark, but for good reason. The one irrational thing I kept thinking — mid global pandemic! — was… “Shit. What happens if they release ‘TENET’ and I’m shielding?”

I couldn’t shake it.

NHS letter. Lungs & immune system non-existent. Stay in, FFS. Don’t leave your house. It’s worse than ‘The Mist’ and ‘Bird Box’ out there and I don’t mean in terms of quality. Stay. In.

But…. ‘TENET’.

I just couldn’t shake it and it became more pathetic. I googled every drive-in within driving distance. I included Wales and Scotland round trips in that. Because that would allow me my space, as well as seeing the film.

Because, much as I love Twitter, I don’t trust it. Tthe thought of seeing: “Whaaaat?! R-Batz travelled back in time, inverted! To stop 9/11 and Nolan making ‘Dark Knight Rises’?!” spoilers.

Plus, we live for films, right?

Football was there — even if we wished it wasn’t, at times. TV was still there, with Twitter getting overly excited about Bond repeats and John Candy re-runs — but not excited enough about ‘Eurovision’. Music was there, even if Biffy initially disappointed andBrandon delayed the new album, and worse, the gig.

So the cinema was all I craved.

USiTunes let me see some great content, often ahead of when I would’ve seen it anyway. D+ made me worried I’d get cancelled for getting ‘Mulan’ for £28, let alone £19.99. But none of it was the cinema and none of it was ‘TENET’.

Christ, out of respect, I’ve even delayed seeing ‘Unhinged’ until later. Because it’s always been building up to ‘TENET’.

The LFF canteen has been an odd place. We lost Deano (not to Covid, thank god’). We’re socialist distant, even though Mike still tries to get in my face about Liverpool winning the league*. Al keeps telling me to get Shudder, even though I’ve run out of emails to get free trials.

I don’t know yet if it’s a ***** film. I’ll likely need to reflect and invert.

With Nolan, I’ve only ever been 100% after one viewing and unfortunately, that was knowing that ‘Dark Knight Rises’ 100% wasn’t *****. It would be the ultimate crescendo to leave knowing exactly how I feel about it.

But I’ll say this… it’s 100% a ***** event. Like it or not, cinemas need the shot to the arm.

If you go, I hope you enjoy it. Stay safe. If you go, and it doesn’t live up to it — hey, better that, than not seeing it at all, right?

*Seriously. STFU, Mike.

Next PostPrevious Post


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.