Tenet SPOILER Discussion

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#36830

Okay so I saw it today and here’s my review. WITH SOME SPOILERS PERHAPS.

I enjoyed it a lot. This is really well made movie, as you may expect from Nolan. Stylistically it shares a lot with Dunkirk, albeit with very different subject matter. The soundtrack is very intrusive (I was watching in a Dolby ATMOS screen to emphasise that), a strange electronica score that drive you through any increase in pace and jeopardy as in Dunkirk. It drops you right into it with a great set piece scene at a theatre.

The characters are all presented face value, with the exception of Elizabeth Debicki’s we know nothing about the background of any of them from start to finish. I sense this is deliberate as who can trust who is a core part of the narrative. The performances are still very strong and to me Pattinson the pick of them.

To the story – what struck me is overall this felt more Le Carre than sci-fi. Yes the time bits are all in there, moreso at the end, but especially with Debicki playing a mob boss’ wife it frequently reminded me most of The Night Manager TV series recently. It’s a lot more spy movie than the trailer suggests. For the timey wimey science stuff, I have to admit I found it a little confusing how ‘inversion’ works so I took the path of not thinking about it too much and going with the flow and overall that paid off, there are some very clever bits where they revisit scenes from earlier and also play simultaneously forwards and backwards. On the negative side it lost me a little in the final scene, the setup was delivered with a full military briefing of what they were doing with one troop moving forwards and the other backwards but I still felt I rather missed out on what ‘Neil’ was doing which blunted its effectiveness.

Overall I give it neither of the Guardian’s scores but a solid 4 because of the rather muddled ending which admittedly may be partly down to my limited brainpower.

 

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  • #36837

    That pretty much sums up my feelings. I gave up following plot details after an hour and just went with the flow (whichever way it flowed). There were a couple of plot tics at the end that made me wonder if Nolan had watched Moffat’s Dr Who.

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  • #36838

    Yes it is quite reminiscent of some of that Dr Who stuff when they flit in and out of their earlier scenes.

    It’s a pity Johnny Henning isn’t here any more, he has the kind of brain that could tell me if the whole ‘inversion’ concept is genius or bunkum (I suspect the latter as most time travel is in the end). At least it is a new take for me anyway that they are actually travelling backwards in time rather than just appearing there as you’d get on Doctor Who or Back To The Future or whatever.

    Maybe as well the intrusive soundtrack didn’t always help with the explanations. Here every English film has Malay and Chinese subtitles which I have grown to forget are ever there but with my limited Malay found myself reading the odd one and translating, especially when a lot of scenes have them talking with masks on.

  • #36842

    I think the intrusive soundtrack sometime obscuring the dialogue was a deliberate and interesting choice.

  • #36847

    It’s hard for me to fully judge because they opened an Imax/ATMOS screen here maybe 3 years ago. I always go there now for big movies (it’s not the closest but close enough).

    Dunkirk hit me viscerally through its soundtrack which was very dominant, the ticking clock motif raising the blood pressure. I can’t recall that being so large an element in Nolan’s films up to then but I watched pretty much all of them either at a normal screen or at home.

    I can’t help but see it is a change of style to make it so dominant, it’s not something I noticed in stuff like The Prestige or the Batman films but I’m open to the idea that it’s my change of experience. Overall I like it and very happy to be aurally manipulated like that.

  • #36854

    Definitely one I need to see again, but I enjoyed it. I’m glad Debicki got a movie star role. Hopefully more of those to come.

    The action scenes were cool. Loved that reverse of the earlier fight near the end.

    I did not recognise Aaron Taylor-Johnson at all.

    I sense this is deliberate as who can trust who is a core part of the narrative

    Yeah, the whole repeated meta-discussion about Washington’s character being “The Protagonist,” and that being his only name, definitely isn’t a coincidence, but I’m not sure what it is.

    Biggest surprise: A Nolan movie in which no character has a dead wife.

  • #37030

    :wacko: US is still being stupid about the virus and theatres are still closed

  • #37043

    I’m glad Debicki got a movie star role.

    I liked they didn’t hide her height (she’s 6’3″). I’ve seen in other roles she’s done they shoot in certain ways to even her out with her co-stars, here they were happy for her to get a  pair of heels on and tower over all the blokes.

     

  • #37163

    I enjoyed watching it, but I think I have to see it one more time to make sense of some of the stuff. (And probably another time backwards.) Some things I felt happened when I blinked or were explained in exposition drowned out by the mating call of a humpback whale. How did they suddenly have an army with equipment to send half the team backwards in time?

    “Moffats Dr. No” is an appropriate description.

  • #37414

    The small army was okay for me, they established Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s gang were somehow connected to the security services (although they don’t specify with all the British accents you’d assume MI6 or something).

    What I couldn’t figure out is who they were fighting, a lot of explosions going off but I only saw Kenneth Branagh’s bald henchman in there.

    I’ll rewatch it when it comes to Netflix as then you can turn subtitles on.

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  • #37439

    I saw it yesterday and enjoyed it.

    Right from the start I loved the score and sound design. It slaps you right in the face right from the beginning of the theatre shootout and it never really lets up for the whole movie.
    I managed to follow most of the “inversion” trickery for the most part. But I did get a little lost during the ending battle. I feel like I understood the basic concept of having the two teams moving backwards and forwards in time simultaneously. But when it was actually happening my brain couldn’t quite keep it straight.
    It’s Nolan, so the movie looks great. Plot wise I’d say is sags a little at times. I lost track of exactly what the protagonist was after at points. But I kind of just went with it and I had fun with it…..Its definitely a movie I need to see again though, just to nail down the finer points.
  • #37631

    Saw it, and it was a pretty straightforward and highly entertaining action pastiche. No character arcs that I could make out, no deeper moral lessons, no pushing the limits of cinema, no real story (“destroy the universe”, really?), no proper science fiction. It’s a glorified piece of shit, which is also what I think of Nolan and some of his antics.

    The social commentary is en pointe: The movie takes place in a not-too-distant future where men are to cool for names and like to wear masks and women are relegated to do the sex, then gestate, give birth to and care for kids. This is a master stroke of bringing real-world issues into the cinematic narrative dimension and elaborate with them as their success is measured in their ability to perform well in nah you’re right I’m not really doing this, I’m just fucking with you.

    Not as much as Christopher Nolan is though. If Whedon makes a plot point on something about Black Widows ability to have children for an interrogation scene at SHIELD HQ there is immediate backlash and pushback. I don’t mind that. That’s fucking good. Call out the bullshit, ya know.

    But Christopher Nolan affords his female characters and their character arcs as much effort as Rob Liefeld has put in to studying basic human anatomy and makes everyone forget by having cool framed shots rife with effects in a movie with the worlds second highest production value available (as long James Cameron is still alive). Call this idiot out.

    TLDR: I really enjoyed watching this movie. It absolutely fucking sucked though. 5/5

  • #38336

    We live in a twilight world.

    And there are no friends at dusk.

    It’s strange how I thought that I liked this film after the first viewing but knew that I really needed a repeat to be sure. So I’ve since watched it again (and read the screenplay) and I definitely like it. The score is great, the action is very good, I like the cast. Thinking about inversion for too long can hurt my head but I’d rather have a blockbuster that will let me think about it (if I want to), especially if it’s the only summer movie of the year.

    I would guess that I only heard 80% of the dialogue on my first viewing. On my second I think that I heard more, but I wonder if my brain was correcting what I heard because I had read the script? It’s also possible that cinemas have fiddled with the sound settings now that the film has been out for a few weeks. Unfortunately my second viewing didn’t give me the punch in the gut that my first viewing had, I think that they were a notch too quiet. If they had been playing Dunkirk at that volume instead, I would have complained.

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  • #40436

    No character arcs that I could make out, no deeper moral lessons, no pushing the limits of cinema, no real story (“destroy the universe”, really?), no proper science fiction.

    As far as characters and plot are concerned, it’s basically a Bond movie. I’d say that’s a feature rather than a bug though, as it allows Nolan to focus on what really is interesting to him about this movie – the mechanics of inversion.

    And I thought those were awesome and definitely did push the limits of cinema. Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like this before, and it was pretty mindblowing, especially stuff like the interrogation scene and the car chases leading up and down to it. When this is what a movie does, I really don’t need a good story as such. The premise of the future going to war with the present is so cool that I kinda wish he’d done more with it (same way I wished that Inception did more with the dream spy premise), but that’s not the way Nolan works, and at least when it comes to Tenet I can’t really argue with him. What he does here is just too damn impressive.

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