Ever since the coronavirus epidemic began to spread its wings around the world, most major, Hollywood films were postponed until the end of 2020 and then until 2021. Warner Bros.’s TENET was the only film that made the bold decision to release. In August-end and September between the US and other international market epidemics. It was not released in India, as theaters were closed here. Now that theaters have started operating, the much-awaited Christopher Nolan-directed film has been released on the big screen. So does TENET manage to entertain the audience and thrill them in true Nolan style? Or does it fail to impress? Let us analyze.
TENET is the story of a secret agent fighting for the survival of the entire world from an incredible threat. An unnamed CIA agent, ‘Protagonist’ (John David Washington) participates in an undercover operation at an opera house in Kiev, Ukraine, along with the identification of SWAT soldiers, as well as his teammates. The hero’s goal is to save a target and acquire an unknown package. Sadly, the mission fails for him and is captured. He is tortured and forced to reveal his identity and his organization. However, the hero dies by shooting cyanide. Fortunately, he does not lose his life. It is revealed that the mission was a fake and was conducted to test his loyalty. After passing the test, he is appointed by a secret organization known as Tenet. She is taken to a research facility, where Laura (Clemens Poacey) informs them that they have come across several objects, whose entropy is reversed and going back in time. Clearly, the protagonist becomes confused and he explains the concept by shooting him inverted bullets. The protagonist is surprised that instead of hitting the target, the inverted bullets jump out of the target and retreat to enter the gun. She also tells him that these things are from the future and this event can also threaten his present and his past. The Protagonist reaches Mumbai to get more information about these pills. Here, he enlists the help of a local liaison, Neil (Robert Pattinson), who along with arms dealer Sanjay Singh (Denzil Smith), helps get the audience. Neil says this is not possible and they will have to infiltrate his mansion. Nayak agrees and the two sneak into his house and catch Sanjay. However, it is revealed that Sanjay is just a frontman and it is his wife Priya Singh (Dimple Kapadia) who calls the shots. She tells the protagonist that her ammunition was purchased and possibly overturned by Andrei Sattor (Kenneth Branagh), a Russian aristocrat. The protagonist then goes to London to meet Sir Michael Crosby (Michael Caine) who advises him that he should contact Andrei’s wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) and through that he can establish contact with Oligarch. Kat is an art appraiser who recently sold a fake Goya painting to her husband. The protagonist decides to follow the same path. He brings her another fake Goya, hoping that he will use her to introduce Andrei. However, she tells him that after selling Andrei a forged painting, she finds out the truth and he uses her to blackmail and control her. The protagonist then decides to steal the painting she sold to him from the place where it is stored – a freeport at Oslo Airport, Norway. With the help of a pilot, Mahir (Himesh Patel), they get an airplane to crash into the Freeport facility and it seems as if unknown robbers have tried to rob gold bars from the plane. Nayak and Neil use this attack as an opportunity to infiltrate a fake painting to steal the facility. As they enter the facility and become busy with their work, they are suddenly attacked by two mysterious SWAT members who leave through a strange revolving door. What’s more, one of them is upside down and moving backwards in time! What happens next is the rest of the film.
Christopher Nolan’s story is surprising, that’s all! He has thought of a concept that is truly out of this world and something that forces the viewer to bring the entire gray cell in motion in his mind. Christopher Nolan’s screenplay is captivating and keeps the audience hooked despite the 150-minute run-time. However, some scenes are sure to go over the top for viewers and are forced to check the plot on Wikipedia or Google ‘Tenant Explained’ after exiting the theater. Christopher Nolan’s dialogues are sharp and also provide the much-needed humor in the film.
Christopher Nolan’s direction is supreme. This type of concept requires courage and conviction to pull off and also makes it cinematically engaging and entertaining. In this regard, he succeeds big time. The film is full of some very thrilling and dramatic moments, some of which have never been seen on celluloid before, and are of interest. There are some twists and turns in the second half which are shocking to the audience and worth their money. On Flipside, one would have wished if the film had been a bit simpler. At times it seems that some scene or going-on has been deliberately complicated. However, it does carry the backfire in some scenes, more in the first half. In addition, minor similarities can also be drawn for AVENGERS: ENDGAME  Which also dealt with time travel and was a complex concept. Nevertheless, the execution made it so simple and enabled all types of viewers to understand what was going on. A wish if TENET was also on the same lines as the effect.
TENET begins on a very exciting note with an attack at the Kiev Opera House. As expected, the film moves into the ‘Nolan zone’ shortly as mysterious events begin. The protagonist’s scene with scientist Laura occurs when the audience is introduced to the invert concept. Then there is the view of Mumbai which is simple and also quite exciting. The introduction of Kat and Andrei Sattore’s characters gives the narrative a nice touch. The attack on Freeport in Oslo is particularly entertaining when a man walking in reverse attacks the hero. The level of confusion is several notches higher than here. Ultimately, the concept is hard to understand and on top of that, so much is happening that it makes no sense and is sure to leave the audience stunned. Thankfully, after the interval, things become clear. Some questions are answered hypothetically, especially when the hero also turns upside down for an important reason. The climax is thrilling as we provoke two teams to attack – one advancing at a time and one advancing backwards – with another track running parallel in Vietnam. The final scene is unpredictable but leaves the audience with a lot of questions.
Speaking of performances, John David Washington, who recently received accolades for his role in BLKKKLANSMAN , Gives yet another commendable performance. The confusion and challenges he goes through are expressed very well by him, his expressions and gestures. Robert Pattinson is as reliable as ever. His character is stylish, a bit mysterious and someone who knows how the work is done and Robert portrays it with perfection. Elizabeth is a tricky part of Debaki and affects Max. She gives the best performance in the film and she excels in critical climax sequence. Kenneth Branagh excels as the villain and leaves a mark. Dimple Kapadia has an important role and is very confident and influential. Himesh Patel gives competent support. Clemens Poacey in the cameo is awesome. Michael Cane is there for just one scene but he is adorable. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ives) is decent, though one wishes his character was a bit more defined. Denzil Smith hardly gets any scope.
Ludwig Gorenson’s music is outstanding and is one of the best parts of the film. The background score enhances the effect in many scenes. Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography is superb. The visuals are captured in such a way, making them ideal for a large screened watch. The scenes in Mumbai are also well shot. The same goes for action. It adds to the grandeur. And thankfully, it is not gore. Nathan Crawley’s production design is very rich in all respects. VFX is first class and is considered particularly inverted scenes. The sound is not even up to the mark in some scenes. Dialogues become slightly indecent or are affected by other noise in the scene. Thankfully the film is released in India with English subtitles and it saves the day. Jennifer Lam’s editing is a bit bizarre in some places, but some scenes are exceptionally cut.
Overall, TENET confuses and puzzles the audience, but it provides a great cinematic experience for its concept, musical score, VFX and action. At the Indian box office, due to publicity, Nolan’s fan following could emerge as a breakthrough and is a rare, thrilling film, released in theaters.