“Tenet” wins some battles, loses war

Plank Article Jackson Sloat ’23

“Tenet” is an action-packed yet thought-provoking film directed by Christopher Nolan, which stars John David Washington, Robert Pattison, and Elizabeth Debicki. This mind-bending action thriller follows a secret agent (Washington) and his trusted friend Neil (Pattinson) as they try to prevent Sator (Kenneth Branagh) from starting World War III. 

Nolan’s films usually have a confusing nature as the 10-time Oscar-winning director is known for his ability to make his audience think. “Tenet” was no exception. As with most of his movies, Nolan doesn’t give everything away at once –– holding back certain details and leaving some mystery for the viewers to figure out themselves. 

One of the main positives of the film was the cinematography. It is very easy to get pulled into a totally different world while watching. The limited use of computer-generated imaging (CGI), something Nolan is known for, made the movie even more impressive. The acting in “Tenet” was also excellent. Washington and Pattinson are a fantastic pair, especially in the action scenes. 

But even with the many positives, the movie was far from being one of Nolan’s best. While watching this film in a IMAX theatre, one of the most annoying things was the sound mixing. Throughout most scenes the ability to hear the characters talk to one another is almost incomprehensible because behind them a train is going by or gunshots are going off. Whenever anything happened the score was either subtle and quiet or booming into your ear. 

Another negative was the performance by Elizabeth Debicki. It felt like whenever she appeared on the screen the scene either was okay or really boring. Her character’s bland personality doesn’t really fit in with the style that Nolan has when directing movies. When she appears the film comes to a grinding halt.  

In the end, “Tenet” is a good movie. It definitely follows Nolan’s mind-bending style of movie-making but it doesn’t quite live up to the genius of his other films. “Tenet” will appeal to a wide-variety of people, especially those who enjoy actively watching movies and aren’t prone to falling behind or missing key details. Watching this movie is a fun, thought-provoking experience and I highly recommend seeing the film in theatres.