The year is 2020, most of the world is shutdown with a world-wide pandemic sweeping the global closing most of the entertainment industry… this isn’t a lead into TENET this is actually what is happening right now with most of the world closed and almost all cinematic releases delayed or opting for online TENET is the first big release of the year to actually make it into public cinemas. With TENET releasing and now in Australian cinemas should you go see it?
TENET is the latest in original Sci-FI from Christopher Nolan. Nolan most well known for his Dark Knight trilogy is of course responsible for a slew of non-linear storytelling from Inception to Interstellar and even some sci-fi films that don’t start with I. TENET was originally intended for release in mid-July right in the summer blockbuster season with the appropriate level of hype to go with it until everything shutdown and all release dates were put on hold or pushed out.
So what is TENET and what do you need to know going in? TENET of course is a palindrome, meaning that it reads the same written forwards and backwards like radar or tacocat which is fitting given the film’s gearing towards temporal mechanics that we saw in the trailers leading up. Already you can figure out it is very hard to talk about this film without adding spoilers.
TENET is centred around the Protagonist played by John David Washington who you might know from Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman opposite Daniel Crag or The Rock’s series, Baller. We are calling him the Protagonist not to be clever but due to the fact that we never learn his actual name during the film. The Protagonist is introduced from the film’s start as a Black Ops style operator as part of a team extracting a deep cover asset during a hostage situation in the Ukraine. Yes that is a lot of moving parts from the get go and this is the simple part.
Ok this is the point where we have to tell you something a little spoiler’y to help explain the film. If you have seen the trailers you probably have already worked this out but if you want 100% cold then just jump down to the should you go and see it and be confused slightly.
Still here? Ok so TENET moves pretty quickly with The Protagonist being recruited by another Black Ops type group right off the back of his last mission. This clandestine MI-6 type group has a very simple focus – objects that travel backwards through time. We aren’t talking time travel here but rather items that are moving parallel and opposite to the physics of everything following the normal flow of time. Think bullets that are caught by the gun instead of shot in the simplest terms.
As you might have guessed this opens up the world to a lot of special effects and action set pieces as The Protagonist and his partner, Sparkly Vampire & new Batman Robert Patterson. In what could be described as a Sci-Fi/River Song based Bond Film, and not just any Bond – one with multiple arcs within arcs that may leave you lost at some points if you need to make a quick bathroom break. Think watching Quantum of Solace for the first time but then walking out of the room for 15 minutes in the middle.
So should you go see it? If you are somewhere where it is safe to do so with the cinema taking all the precautions during the pandemics sure. Event Cinemas for example (where you can online book to pick your seats to see how full the cinema is) will reserve all the seats around you as a safety bubble. But back to the movie, yes TENET is definitely worth a watch and not only that it is the type of film you may actually need to see more than once to catch what you missed on the first pass through. But only go see it if it is safe to do so, while you might be looking forward to some new stuff to watch it isnt worth your health.
TENET is playing in all cinemas (and a lot of Drive-Ins if you want an extra safe option) across Australia right now.