Claire Collins
Claire Collins

17.05 21 Aug 2020


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Esther McCarthy gives her take on Christopher Nolan's newest offering

Tenet (12A) ****

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The action sequences are spectacular and the visuals striking in Tenet, the latest movie Christopher Nolan has brought to the big screen.

Following numerous delays and a release here weeks before the US, Tenet has found itself earmarked as summer’s great movie hope.

As a spy movie it’s stylish and pure escapism, but I had issues with it too. Nolan’s films have often toyed with time. Here, he goes further, using what he calls ‘inversion’ which allows characters to communicate with the future. Nolan himself has described it as “like running backwards through time, relative to us”.

For action scenes it works fabulously, much less so as a storytelling device - it feels deeply gimmicky on the latter terms.

Beyond all the distraction, Tenet is great fun, and features some of the hands-down best action sequences I have ever seen on the big screen.

There is an epic stunt sequence involving an actual real jumbo jet speedboats and car chase sequences.

For all the rich people’s toys, it is some astonishing combat sequences that prove to be the most impressive on screen and John David Washington certainly shows up in that regard.

The word ‘tenet’ refers to a principle or belief, and that’s all that the film’s Protagonist (Washington) has when he sets out to investigate the mysterious figures behind an unknown global threat to the world.

This takes him and his colleague Neil (Robert Pattinson) globetrotting around the world.

The film’s central premise drove me to distraction and left me utterly cold in storytelling terms, explaining and explaining to an extent that frustrates the film. But as a visual and action movie concept it is fantastic, fuelling some of the best set-pieces I’ve seen on screen in recent years.

Tenet opens in cinemas on Wednesday.


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