PETALING JAYA: If there ever was a litmus test as to whether the film industry would survive the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be something from the creative mind of Christopher Nolan and his latest offering, Tenet.
Not many clues were dropped in the trailer for Tenet, except for the teaser: “You’re not shooting the bullet you’re catching it”.
Arguably the most anticipated movie of the year, Nolan’s brilliant mind did not disappoint with this science-fiction spy drama starring John David Washington as the Protagonist.
In the movie, Washington is given the gargantuan task of saving humanity from certain radioactive Armageddon in a looming World War III. He is assisted by the secretive agent, Neil, played by Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame.
Nolan took over five years to write the screenplay of Tenet after mulling over its main themes for more than 10 years. He co-produced it with his spouse Emma Thomas.
The movie also has a stellar supportive cast comprising of Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.
In Tenet, the Protaganist is told that certain objects scattered around the world are moving backwards through time. He is told these objects were manufactured in the future and are heading into the past.
An arms dealer, dying of cancer, wants to use this technology to put the whole earth into reverse and kill everyone, his rationale being that if he cannot live, no one else should.
For those with an insatiable appetite for adrenalin-pumping action, the first hour of the movie will leave you at the edge of your seat as the Protagonist executes some pretty awesome James Bond moves in his battle with Tenet’s antagonist, the ruthless, cancer-stricken Andrei Sator, played by Branagh, who previously acted in Nolan’s Dunkirk.
Adding an unexpected dimension to the plot is Sator’s wife Kat, played by the elegant Debicki, who is bent on escaping the clutches of her domineering husband so she can be reunited with her son.
Like any spy movie, Tenet has its share of luxurious locations – from the beautiful cliffs of Italy’s Amalfi Coast to the Nysted Wind Farm in Denmark – all shot in relative safety of the world pre-Covid-19.
Tenet feels like a hybrid of a classic action-packed Bond movie and time-twisting science-fiction.
Fun fact: no green screen was used throughout the movie, only real effects, which means that the scene where a Boeing 747 crashes into a building and explodes, actually took place.
With Nolan’s go-to composer Hans Zimmer occupied with another project, Tenet’s impressive soundtrack was composed by the Oscar-winning Ludwig Göransson, though at times the soundtrack muffles the dialogue, which can be frustrating.
Two and a half hours can fly quickly, but it is intense as even a moment’s distraction will leave you clueless thanks to Tenet’s ever-changing plot.
No doubt, audiences will exit the cinema feeling a little fuzzy and disorientated. You should consider yourself lucky if you are able to digest the complex plot in just one run.
As one of the characters in Tenet so aptly says, “Don’t try to understand it, feel it.”
Fans of Nolan from his early days of Insomnia to Inception, may find themselves squealing with excitement and wonder at the complexity of Tenet, and may even consider watching it a second time.
While many are understandably fearful of watching a movie in a cinema because of Covid-19, the question that remains is whether Nolan’s Tenet can successfully tempt worried moviegoers enough to come on in?
After five months of staring at television screens at home, Tenet’s action-packed time bending might just be what bored cinema-goers need to get back into the thick of things. And the desperate film industry will thank you for it.