This is a spoiler free review of Tenet, yes #nospoiler… Although I’d love to discuss it with others who have seen it soon.
I gave Tenet 8 out of 10. Yes its worth watching, twice (this is what I have done). You will need to see it twice to fully appreachate all of whats going on. The cinematography is top notch in Tenet, expect awards for this.
Its what Nolan is so good at, immersive pacey stories, in Tenet he’s run a little wild with the complexity. Don’t worry there is moments of calm and explaining whats actually happening throughout the film, but not a lot to make it feel boring or make the audience feel talked at.
We all know Nolan loves playing with the 4th dimension of time, although Tenet isn’t about time travel as such. Its likely the easist way to explain it to people but when you see the effect it makes for more difficulty than it needs to be.
It is complex yes but not Primer complex (spoilers ahead)… If you put Memento at one end and Inception at the other. It would be somewhere in the middle, although the actual concept of inversion is somewhere closer to the 5th dimension tesseract of interestellar. Nolan helps the audience understand the concept slowly then drops the ball on you but helps by colour coding whats actually happening from which point of view. It makes sense when you see the scene.
Tenet has all of Nolans mates (Sir Micheal Cane, Kenneth Brannagh, etc) are in the film but this time I think for the first time, the stars of the film are minorities not white men. I won’t say much more but Nolan plays with this throughout the film to good effect. Its a stark contrast to a number of previous films which he has been critisied for. Its got everything of the other big Nolan films except I would suggest the heart of Interstellar. The story with Kat is believeable and maybe if I saw the full uncut version (I saw the IMAX 12A version) I might feel stronger for Kat and her motovations. Its not as strong as the relationship of Coop and Murph in Interstellar.
There is signs of Nolans notions of storytelling too, with John David Washington actually calling himself the protagonist, then being cut down to say he’s one of a few protagonists. Nolan made clear this needed to be shown in CInemas especially the IMAX and I agree, the aspect ratio is 2.20 : 1 and its shot with lots of close up shots, making you feel like a mouse looking up a lot of the time. Its 100% shot with IMAX cameras and going to be a interesting crop on 1.85:1 (widescreen)
Question I had and sure others have (without reading the reviews), will there be a second Tenet? Tenet doesn’t do what inception did at the end but like interstellar could easily make a sequal if there was interest. There is a lot of bigger view questions which are not answered and could make a neat sequal.
Is Tenet actually a Inception sequal or prequal? I would say no but there is a parts missing where they could fit together quite nicely. I would suggest if this is true, Inception would be the prequal to Tenet with the CIA and rouge figures using technology for different purposes than first intended.
End of the day its a very good film but not going to knock Inception off the top spot.
Updated Thursday night
The Falken asked me, was it worth the risk?
I realised I didn’t actually say much about my experience of going to the cinema during Covid19. This is the context which is why Tenet was so important to cinema.
I went to the VUE Manchester which is in the city centre, meaning I could walk to the cinema and back home without using any transport at all. Bookings were done online, when you book there is 4 seats either side of you also booked (aka 2 per side). If you book for 2 people, exactly the same is applied instantly after confirming. This is also where they capture your info for the UK government track and trace
The seats are the modern cinema seats so there is quite a distance between people in front and behind. On arrival to the cinema, there is the usual one way in and one way out. There is no kiosk with people just ushers with PPE directing you. I believe you can buy a ticket from a automated kiosk which happened to be on the ground floor and away from everything else. Of course there is hand sanitizer everywhere and its the good stuff, which sprays and melts into the skin without much rubbing.
Ticket checks are done with the e-ticket/barcode on your phone at a safe distance. There are arrows everywhere and the food and drinks are still available but everything is now behind the counter. Entry times are staggered with longer adverts and more trailers (also kinda funny seeing the trailers for films which should have been out in April/May/June 2020! This is certainly something you would have thought Hollywood would have a grip on – certainly a reason for object based media).
The cinema doesn’t feel full with only a capacity of about one quarter (objectively). Like most of the UK masks are required indoors except when eating & drinking. As the cinema is a mix, you can walk around with no mask but its discouraged.
I personally wore my mask on both days I visited the cinema, all the time on day one and all the time except when eating icecream during the adverts and trailers. I certainly wasn’t the only one, as most people I could see before the lights went down were wearing masks in the cinema.
I choose the first showings of the day to insure the cinema would be very cleaned and setup for the next day. Having worked in cinemas in the past I know how little time you get to clean in between showings. I assume the times would change to allow more cleaning time now, but it seems to be another 10mins on top of the usual 20mins. Maybe there might be more staff cleaning now?
Generally I felt quite safe, the IMAX is a massive theatre with a lot of space even if someone gets up in the middle for the toilet (although they needed to go out the back down the stairs and back in from the front again), there is plenty of space to walk in front for a split second. If I was in a smaller cinema I might feel less safe.
On a whole it was good both times and I’ll visit when WW1984 hits the IMAX. By the way, I’m not so keen on the tag line in the UK for Tenet of “Bond on acid”