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TENET Movie Review – You Won’t Get It But Still Enjoy It

TENET is a mind boggling, action packed spy thriller which deserves to be seen on the big screen.  It is beautifully shot with a music score that rivals that of John Williams.

TENET Movie Review

Writer-Director Christopher Nolan is known for his cerebral, often non-linear, storytelling with past films like Memento and Inception.  His newest film TENET seems to have outdone them all in terms of confusing the heck out of viewers.  While the film lacks clarity, it makes up for it with amazing performances by Pattinson and Washington, music scores which emerse audiences instantly and beautifully shot action scenes.


Check out my TENET Movie Review on YouTube

John David Washington, only known as “The Protagonist” is a government agent recently rescued from a mission in Kyiv, he finds himself on a new mission, this time to save the world from World War III.  Given one word for this mission, TENET, which is spelled the same backwards as it is forward and describes the mission perfectly.  TENET will help open the right doors, but be careful because it can also open the wrong ones too.  Time itself is being manipulated, and the phenomenon can only be explained with a bullet.  This is no ordinary bullet, this bullet flies backwards.  This gets into the whole mystery of “inversion”, a process occuring because of some sort of reverse radiation which causes molecules of objects and even people to forge back into time as the rest of the world trots along as normal.

The Protagonist enlists the help of British physicist Neil (Robert Pattinson) and Mumbai arms dealer Priya (Dimple Kapadia) to take down villain Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh), who has some sort of involvement into the reverse radiation. To get close to Andrei, his estranged wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) unknowingly becomes part of the plan and in the only predictable part of the film, also becomes the love interest to The Protagonist.

TENET Movie Review

The Twisty Turny Plot

The movie will take you on twists and turns, which may lose you from the start, like it did for me.  It makes one believe Nolan is trying to outdo himself as far as complexity of the plot with each film, because TENET is by far the most complex of his films yet.  I found myself the first half of the movie trying to make sense of it all, don’t waste your time.  About an hour into the film, I just let it all go, sat back and enjoyed the ride.  Despite all of the confusion, this will in no way take away from the enjoyment of the film.  The action, music and imagery makes this 2 1/2 hour film fly by and keeps audiences emersed from the very beginning scene, confirming Nolan’s brilliance and talent in film making.

Music Score

I dared to say it, the musical score in TENET rivals that of Star Wars, GASP!  While Nolan’s go-to musical composer Hans Zimmer was unable to collaborate on this project, he was set to work on Dune, Ludwig Göransson stepped in and stepped up.  We all know the importance of music in a film, I reference Star Wars when one can almost feel the hairs on their arms stand up during the opening crawl, as John William’s powerful Star Wars (Main Title) in blasted throughout the theater.  A few moments in TENET gave me this same hair raising feeling.  Every scene in TENET is perfectly coupled with the music score, and thrusts the audience into every single moment of the movie.  It was truly one of the highlights I enjoyed while watching the film.

TENET Movie Review

The Cast

It takes a special sort of actor/actress to pull off a spy thriller which totally confuses audiences but at the same time, keeps them engaged and invested in the film and characters.  The casting in TENET is spot on.  Washington is believable as The Protagonist while also doing a terrific job of sharing the screen with the rest of the amazing cast.  Kenneth Branagh as the villain is chilling, a true acting genius.  And Pattinson’s performance was outstanding, totally highlighting his versality as an actor.  Pattinson has proved over and over that he deserves his Hollywood accolades and after seeing him in TENET, I am looking forward to his role in The Batman. It may just become the year of Pattinson, maybe?

Overall Thoughts

TENET will definitely blow your mind. It is fun, action packed and beautifully shot.  And while I know in Covid times people are nervous to enter theaters again, which I totally understand, I also have to add that TENET deserves to be seen on the big screen.  I was able to view it on an IMAX screen and was blow away with the gorgeous cinematography, perfectly timed action shots and heart pounding music.  As far as the plot, I think I’m going to have to watch this three more times and twice in reverse to figure out even a few pieces in this mind-boggling puzzle.

TENET Movie Review