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Tenet: Yet another Nolan’s time-bending piece, lacks character.

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  • 7.5/10
    Critic's Rating - 7.5/10

“In a parallel world theory, we can’t know the relationship between consciousness & multiple realities.”

After establishing himself as one of the critically acclaimed and a blockbuster name in the previous decade with movies such as INCEPTION, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, INTERSTELLAR & DUNKIRK, intellectual director Christopher Nolan returns for directing his 11th feature movie with Tenet. Being one of the most anticipated/event films of 2020, Tenet is built upon fundamental concepts of science: defying 2nd law of Thermodynamics & introducing Quantum Physics’ Backward Causation (Time Inversion). It has been positioned as a James Bond-ish globetrotting, mind boggling, action-fueled, visually-stunning entertainer powered by few very well known names in the industry.

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However, its release has been somewhat controversial. When nearly all studios had pulled out their releases from theatres because of the ongoing covid 19 pandemic across the globe, Warner Bros & Christopher Nolan agreed on a phase-wise approach to releasing it in green zones first over others. Hence, the movie has been released across various countries for the last three months. And finally it hits Indian theatres this week.

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John David Washington, son of Denzel Washington, stars as the Protagonist who is on a mission to save the world from another catastrophe: nuclear holocaust? No, much worse than that. He is being helped by a warming but semi-mysterious character played by Robert Pattinson. The baddie has been portrayed by a rich, merciless, abusive Russian arms dealer Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). The crux behind Sator’s catastrophic plan is circling around his past during Soviet’s Cold War era & the future of earth due to climate change.

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The complexity of scientific details have been subtly established & explained throughout the movie, yet there are chances to miss out a couple of details here and there due to relative newness of these concepts with respect to cinema viewers. Tenet does not waste time to get started and within a few minutes it picks up the pace with a hauntingly and sometimes weird background music. Priya (Dimple Kapadia) the arms dealer operating out of India is yet another mystery woman whose ambitions have not been unearthed firmly. Taking routine clues and clarifications from both Pattinson & Kapadia’s characters, the Protagonist sets off for a globe-trotting adventure to understand, infiltrate and finally bring down the bad the Russian oligarch from destroying the reality as a whole.

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Hoyte van Hoytema (Interstellar, Dunkirk) returns as cinematographer and keeps up with the scale. However, Hans Zimmer, a long time collaborator for Nolan films could not be available for this piece since he was involved in Dune and Tenet was picked up by Ludwig Goransson. In terms of action and thrill, Nolan does justice to his fans. However it lacks some of the most essential components which have propelled Nolan’s other sci-fi movies like Inception (husband-wife), Interstellar (father-daughter) to greater heights: characters, depth, connection & stakes for protagonist. It is devoid of emotional angle especially from the central character’s point of view. The movie packs pace in the latter half, however the final set piece could have been more engaging. Add to it the flow of time, which, in Nolan’s world, time has always been a dynamic structure of non-linear complex layers.

Overall, a satisfying edge-of-the-seat experience with the fundamental Nolanistic attribute of tweaking the linear assumption of time. However, it cannot be counted in his great works.

About the author

Vipul Singh

An ardent cinephile who considers movies not only as an entertainment but an experience envisioned by the creative minds, put together by brilliant people. Sometimes the "reel life" teaches you more lessons than the "real life".

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