People have been waiting for a long time for the newest Christopher Nolan film, and that was before the pandemic. Since the pandemic, "Tenet" hype and momentum has taken on a life of its own, as it represented not only Nolan's latest feature, but as the first big-budget movie that was supposed to relaunch the movie theater industry when it opened in mid-July.
That release never happened. Neither did subsequent release announcements. With word that Nolan himself refused to let his film debut on streaming, it was finally announced that Warner Bros. was going to do something unprecedented with "Tenet"'s roll-out: It was going to bypass theaters altogether in the States and would be distributed first overseas, trickling back to the U.S. only in markets where the film could be shown properly on the big-screen.
Still not seeing the wide opening it once envisioned coming, "Tenet" is finally hitting theaters here in Michigan, and will be one of the first movies that movie-goers can see when theaters re-open - at limited capacity and with social distancing measures in place - on Friday, October 9th.
And while for many, the simple joy of just going to the movies again at all will outshine the substance of any film that might actually grace the screen. In the case of "Tenet," that might be a good thing, because this convoluted mess of a film is a bit of a disappointment. In normal times pre-pandemic, it might have been called a major one.
"Tenet" is a twisty, espionage-thriller whose Protagonist is played by John David Washington. I won't spoil the plot, but only in part because I couldn't explain it properly if I tried. It also stars Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh and Elizabeth Debicki, in an action-packed adventure that plays with the concept of time, and tests the patience of those who try to make sense of it all.
There is lots of action, so it definitely will pacify those who have been longing for a movie on the big-screen, any movie. Seen in IMAX, you'll find yourself even more submersed. But at two-hours and thirty minutes, it's about 30 minutes too long. Way too many minutes are spent explaining things or describing what needs to happen, and there is surprisingly very little time left for characterization or for any of this to mean anything at all. Nolan, who so brilliantly brought us films like "Inception," "The Dark Knight" and "Memento," - all of which gave us rich characters to latch on to - seems a bit too caught up in the technology he's playing with, almost in the same way George Lucas did with the Star Wars prequels. That's a real shame, given that Nolan has been known for relying mainly on practical effects and stunt-work.
"Tenet" is not the movie that is going to save the movie industry. Even worse, it's not even really that good a film. When put in context of what we have come to expect from Christopher Nolan - one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation - "Tenet" seems to land with an even more despondent, painful thud.
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi.
Run Time: 2 hours 30 minutes.
Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki, Clémence Poésy, Dimple Kapadia.
Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan ("Dunkirk," "Interstellar," "Inception," "The Dark Knight," "The Dark Knight Rises," "Batman Begins," "The Prestige," "Memento").
"Tenet" only in theaters, and opening in Detroit on Friday, October 9th, 2020.
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