The present circumstances make it impossible for a sizable movie-going audience to enjoy a movie in theaters as they used to some months ago. The risks associated are too significant and will easily outweigh the reward one can experience by watching a movie. People will go by their metrics to work out the risks involved, and perhaps they will check a few reviews to get a perspective. Tenet has an Audience Score of 78 percent, making it one of the worst-rated movies Christopher Nolan has ever made. The reviews can be a little misleading since the film is a mix of exceptional strengths and disappointing weaknesses.
The strengths of the movie surprisingly coincide with the strengths of Nolan himself. Watching any of his movies is always about cracking the film’s code, and it is the same for Tenet as well. The most intriguing aspect of the movie is time travel, which is different from other usual ways of portraying time travel, and in some sense, it is not really time travel at all. Nolan is able to weave a compelling storyline masterfully which has three action sequences, a mindboggling central conflict, and a genuinely thought-provoking resolution.
Tenet’s plot is not that complicated, although you will have to be attentive enough to see all the clues. In order to punish people for not responding to the threat of climate change, an organization decided to send world-ending bombs in the past, while another secret organization is trying to stop them; this is basically the plotline of the movie. As anyone who knows, Nolan would understand that the film is obviously not presented chronologically, and people who are used to his style will probably respond well to it. Since there are similarities in Tenet and his previous movies, Nolan fans will know where to look as the clues lay in plain sight.
But Tenet’s biggest weakness is the lack of depth of its characters. Even though the protagonist John David Washington has done a great job with Robert Pattinson, the plot fails to give the characters due attention. Another issue with the movie is its bizarre audio quality, which is made a little bearable by the masterfully executed visuals. It seems that it is done deliberately, but still, it doesn’t add any value to the overall experience and is extremely annoying.
It seems like Tenet could have been a much better movie if some aspects were given the attention they deserved. Unfortunately, it will remain a brilliant idea that never transpired the way it should have. If the script focused more on the backstory and the character’s relationships, then the viewing experience would significantly improve. But there seems to be a great gulf, an emotional disconnection between the plot and the characters. People will feel that the characters are mere pawns to the plot, which is not how movies should be.
But one thing is sure, the movie seems much better on rewatch, which is its strengths and its weakness as well. Since a film is supposed to be watched once, not twice, it is undoubtedly a failure from that perspective. But viewers who love to solve puzzles and relish rewatching movies might find Tenet more likable.