Given the return to theaters after something like five long months, the arrival of Tenet has a central importance in restarting the whole universe that revolves around the whole cinema. The eyes of all releases will be on the film's box office results, and the overall turnout could really determine the short / medium term fate of many of the upcoming releases; is a pivotal turning point for which the Warner Bros. blockbuster directed by Christopher Nolan takes full responsibility, with a certain audacity.
Audacity which, on the other hand, is also encountered in Tenet itself, which is undoubtedly the most important productive effort never carried out by the director, and that is saying a lot: the last birth of the British filmmaker is in fact an extremely pleased film in its subject and in general in that idea of cinema that transpires entirely from Nolan's filmography. It is no coincidence that it is very likely that if you have not loved Nolan in his previous works, Tenet will be something complex to digest, being the extreme sum of all the experiences accumulated in more than twenty years.
Starting from this, ever since I saw the film for the press screening one day before its arrival in the hall, I knew for sure that Tenet would be a divisive work, because it was intentionally imperfect, despite having a very strong idea for me. clear and focused on what it wants to be. So I thought it made sense to write one multirecensione, also taking the time to see the film again and think about it calmly. With me in this piece in outlining their opinions there will therefore be Leonardo, a professional editor who regularly collaborates with the cinema and TV series section of the site, and Giacomo, who is a guest in all respects.
Without too much delay, let's start with our three (relatively) small reviews, but first I remind you that Tenet is at the cinema since August 26th, and deciding to support it has a double importance given the moment we live in.
Simone Di GregorioSacrificing the superfluous and creating an experience that is pure spectacle comes with sacrifices in terms of consistency and balance of the plot and the characters.
As I teased earlier in the introduction, Tenet is hands down the most ambitious film ever directed by Christopher Nolan, a work that feeds on and rests on its immense production claim and whose script is born only and exclusively to feed the magnificence of its subject. However, sacrificing all the superfluous and creating an experience that is pure and fluid show, with no distractions outside the mechanisms of the show itself, comes with sacrifices as regards consistency and balance of the plot and the characters: it is a legitimate choice through whose lens I believe should be seen in full the 150 minutes of Tenet.
To begin with, Tenet recovers many of the elements of Inception, Interstellar and The Prestige, but almost completely empties the emotional element and disinterested in the psychological construction, becoming more similar from my point of view to the colder and more technical perspective of a Memento, also for the complexity of the screenplay worthy of a maniacal architect in its mechanisms (even if in the 2000 film that complexity passed above all to the editing, not to the imaginary as in Tenet).
Without the writing support of his brother, Nolan prefers to pull away characters, situations and contexts, reducing them to simple pretexts, helped by a frenzied editing which together with Ludwig Göransson's soundtrack does not leave the viewer the possibility to stop and think excessively. The villain (Kenneth Branagh) is embarrassing and so speckish that he reaches levels of stereotyping that touch the comedian; the female character (Elizabeth Debicki, we will see her as Diana in The Crown) who is a bit like the Bond Girl of the situation is the damsel in passive danger until the last bars, where she finds a dimension of her, albeit clumsy; the secondary characters are barely mentioned, just enough to be instrumental to the continuation of the story, as simple one-dimensional pawns. The protagonist is then called Il Protagonista: can there be a clearer declaration of intent than that?
Tenet is in the face of all this a big smug game, it is a roller coaster ride based on logical passages that are sometimes more than neglected, it is the wonder of a splendid vision of direction - in the widest possible sense - that gives excitement from start to finish, thanks to the immense charisma of the alchemy of two great performers like Robert Pattinson (stop pestering him with Twilight) and John David Washington (you will remember him from Spike Lee's Blackkklansman). The stage presence of both is exemplary and they seem born to immerse themselves in an interweaving of espionage, remaining credible from start to finish, even if you never want to create too much a bond of empathy with their characters, or if for this reason. deepen them.
Even the much discussed explanations à la Nolan are quite limited, although present. Really, Tenet hits the accelerator and doesn't take his foot off the pedal even at the cost of burning like a burning train, and that's okay.The action so ambitious and so well directed is in fact the most sensational victory of these very dense two and a half hours
That's okay because it is the purest reification of an extremely complex and cerebral cinematic illusion show, which raises the power of two to theobsession with time by Nolan summarizing his filmography and giving the possibility to create what is in effect an action masterpiece, exploiting his spy thriller nature simply to keep the pace high even in moments of transition. The action so ambitious and so well directed is in fact the most sensational victory of these very dense two and a half hours, never so elaborate and surprising for Nolan, not even in the topical moments of Inception, in a climax that starts from an incredible opening sequence to a progressive opening towards the time inversion mechanisms.
The result touches peaks of madness for what must have been the productive commitment of resources, planning of special effects (little is left to visual effects) and choreography (a certain scene I still do not understand how it was carried out), in a growing wow effect with peaks of total cerebral tilt. Again, the work on the sound is an integral part of the success of the staging of the film's preponderant action soul, and you can realize this especially in the use that is made of the soundtrack in the last sequence before the epilogue, in which Tenet goes from being a spy movie with an obsessive rhythm to a hallucinating war movie, in fluidity.
Finally, Tenet has two huge limits beyond excellence for which it deserves to be absolutely seen, especially at the cinema, given its scope. Both of these limits come out of his script, on which Nolan clearly did not aim here (or on which he was unable to aim at the end), but on which, especially at a second viewing, it is impossible not to dwell.
The first problem for some - not for me, who enjoyed the excitement of the action with awareness - will be and is the total lack of interest in a dramatic construction, which then leads to creating a sort of detachment between us spectators and what happens on the screen, since there is no empathy or contact with the situations in which the characters find themselves and with the characters themselves, which are not in-depth or are poorly written (see the villain Sator, who is also interpreted in overacting by Branagh in some scenes).
The second problem lies in theextreme complexity of the plot (you need a couple of visions to get it right), here all devoted to adrenaline. Especially reflecting it a posteriori, clearly the narrative is actually at the base simpler than it seems and is actually artificially complicated out of all proportion, precisely to get to the realization of those sumptuous visual ideas. I imagine - as I have already seen online - so many people stunned upon leaving the theater, so much so that they are unable to metabolize the film for what it wants to be and for what it is worth.
Ultimately, it all depends on the perspectives with which you are going to see (or with whom you have seen) the last great Nolan show. If you were expecting an action film with strong spy elements like in my case, you will be more than satisfied, thanks to a magnificent direction that surpasses any past production of the British filmmaker over the course of two decades of career. If you were expecting a spy movie with well-developed characters from each faction, more controlled pace, less obvious pretexts, introspective moments and less drawn-out passages, maybe you have the wrong movie.
Tenet is Christopher Nolan's James Bond. It's no mystery that the acclaimed British filmmaker has long cherished the desire to direct a film about the exploits of his Majesty's secret agent. In light of what has been produced with Tenet, perhaps it is better that this never happens.Tenet is visually brilliant, with action scenes from a subject that seems to have been created specifically to support them, and sadly not the other way around.
Tenet is a brilliant film from a visual point of view, with highly original action scenes from a subject that seems created specifically to support them (and, alas, not the other way around). We are not talking about time travel in the traditional sense, but about time reversal: every object or individual can undergo an inversion of its entropy which allows it to move temporally in reverse within a linear world. The result is decidedly surreal scenes where the clash between "straight" and "inverted" (pass me the terms) flows into an intricate dance that often leaves you speechless.
Too bad that the script ends up weighing down what could have been an excellent and honest one with useless mental ruminations. action movie. There is a lot, too much dialogue in Tenet. A verbiage that ends up boring and confusing more than the images themselves in a film which, paradoxically, explains to the viewer less than in other Nolan films but which, a fortiori, is empty.
Because in the end, the plot of Tenet is extremely simple, once you understand the mechanism, but it drowns under the mantle of a phony complexity that ends up annoying the viewer, highlighting, at the same time, all the inconsistencies of a not too careful writing.
A writing which, however, almost completely forgets to characterize the characters. Net of the really good interpretations of John David Washington and Robert Pattinson (actor with a crystalline talent), each character is little more than an aesthetic representation, a two-dimensional cardboard with which to empathize is essentially impossible.
The apex of this unaffective writing is reached with the character of Kat (Elizabeth Debicki), wife of the villain on duty, a female character totally at the mercy of events and of the male, who ends up annoying with his ineptitude and confirming the historical thesis of a misogynistic Nolan.
Particularly sore the Sator played by Kenneth Branagh, a stereotypical villain like few others and driven by substantially non-existent motivations, who has the thankless task of pronouncing lines of dialogue at the edge of the cringe.
Over its approx 150 minutes Tenet maintains a very tight pace that does not leave the viewer the time to think about you, to assimilate the large number of information (often superfluous) or to empathize with his world and his characters (he does not even leave the time to smile over a couple of funny jokes ).
You don't have time to listen to a dialogue that is already somewhere else, in another place, in another dialogue without pauses in which the actors seem to "shoot" the lines like bullets, without allowing themselves a listening plan , a moment of expressive silence, nothing at all.
A choice that ends up exhausting the viewer, also due to the constant and intrusive presence of the soundtrack by Ludwig Goransson, valid in accompanying the action scenes but definitely annoying in the dialogue parts.
The main problem with Tenet, in summary, is that there is no pathos. Never for a moment during the vision did I feel interest in the fate of the protagonists or their world, getting bored several times.
Everyone has their own idea of cinema and surely someone will appreciate the cerebral and cold approach of this Tenet. Personally, however, I believe that cinema must be more than a cold technical showreel.
If just talking about Tenet is already an enterprise in itself, make it acritical analysis it is certainly a task for a select few that I shamelessly download to my expert colleagues. Ah, the joys of multi-reviews! Yes, yes, I know that this is a bit like cheating like cowards, but so be it, and then, in all honesty, of those 150 minutes I would like to tell you one and only one thing: the emotion.
Because returning to the theater with Nolan's latest effort was above all this: an overwhelming whirlwind of emotions fueled by the audiovisual magnificence chiseled by the director. Tenet is in fact the exasperation of the symbiosis between Nolan's cinematography and Cinema and perhaps never as today this relationship is vital for the survival of both.
May they be the pounding notes of the colonna sonora pumped into the speakers or the insane choreography of an "inverted" fight, all the elements of the film find their natural dimension in the room, from which they are returned to us in their maximum splendor, allowing us to live an overwhelming and all-encompassing sensory experience that would be impossible experience elsewhere with the same intensity.
Tenet is one bold film, both in the decision to present oneself to the public in such a delicate moment, as in proposing labyrinthine narrative plots or in attempting daring visual solutions. A similar attempt had already been made with Inception, which however, as Mereghetti wrote ten years ago, “failed to create new mythologies, thus failing to establish itself as a milestone in the cinematic imagination of the new millennium”.
It may be premature to say for sure, but the first impression is that this time around the director has come even closer to his goal, signing at least a couple of anthology sequences: original and suggestive. In short, Tenet is Nolan at 101%, for better or for worse with some historical problems, re-proposed here, among which some weak narrative pretexts, puppet characters and tormented junctions stand out, which in any case are pulverized in the face of the overall (and historical) value of the production. Tenet is a powerful film that needs to be experienced on the skin, a film to start dreaming again immersed body and soul in the armchair of your trusted room. The Great Cinema is back and needs you: be ready!
Review by Simone Di Gregorio Did you like the article? Share it!