Review: Tenet

This is how IMDb describes this film: "Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time."

I used IMDb's description because even a solid week after watching, I don't think I could tell what this film is exactly about. I have no problem admitting when something goes over my head, and I felt a bit dumber after leaving this.

Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite working directors and I've been hyped all year long to see this. I debated multiple times about venturing out during a global pandemic to see this the way Nolan intended on the big screen. Ultimately I chose to stay home and that's probably for the better. Risking my health in exchange of utter confusion wouldn't be the best deal.

Here's the weird part. There's a lot about this movie I enjoyed. John David Washington was a good lead. Ludwig Gorranson's score was awesome (and so, so loud) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson showed up for 10 minutes. Kenneth Branagh was legitimately scary and when I was following the plot, I was interested.

At one point, Clemonce Posey's character tells our Protagonist not to try to understand it, and apparently that's the best way to watch this movie. At various points throughout my two and a half hours with Tenet, I lost track of who the protagonist was working for, who they were actually fighting during the big ending sequence, and what "tenet" was supposed to be in the first place. I don't even think I have the energy at this point to look up those answers on the internet because I just feel mentally exhausted. Because I feel the need to defend myself after just admitting how lost I was - this film had more than my full attention. Especially because I was constantly changing the volume of my TV because the score was so loud, and the dialogue so quiet. Both my surround sound set up and the volume button on the remote got a lot of work.

This is one of those movies I think I'll need to tuck away for a few years and revisit because right now my verdict is just confused amusement. I don't think it's Nolan's worst, and I admire a lot about it technically. It's got the best visual effects of anything released this year. It was just very ambitious and I don't think that paid off.

Recommended: Yes so you can come back and explain it to me.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "Don't try to understand it." - Barbara (Clemence Posey)


  1. Glad you were finally able to see it. I gotta admit I absolutely loved it and it looks to have a pretty firm spot in my Top 10. But I agree, it isn't the easiest movie to follow. I stayed with it mainly because I was on an adrenaline rush when first seeing it. I went back a second time just to verify my interpretation of things. I enjoyed that viewing even more. But it's one of those movies where if you miss just a detail or two it can be hard to catch up.

    1. It's definitely one I'll have to revist. I love Nolan's movies, so I'm annoyed that I didn't love this one too.

  2. I was hoping to see this in the theaters but I'm not risking my health as I'll wait for it on HBO.

    1. Same, I almost went but thought better of it. Now I don't regret it at all.

  3. It has so much Estonia in it that there's no way I don't like it. Plus the movie starts with a scene which I was apart of. How can I hate it.

  4. I'm sorry to hear it didn't work for you as I loved it and I'm even planning on rewatching it.

    1. I'll rewatch it eventually. I don't want to be meh on this.


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