Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
First and foremost, Tenet is a spy thriller, with a scifi / time travel? element intermixed. The movie opens with The Protagonist, played very well by John David Washington, having a mission go bad. After being presumed dead, he is tasked to a secret society to help save the world from an apocalypse. Everyone in this movie assumes ‘nuclear apocalypse’, but we aren’t so lucky.
Certain objects are traveling back in time, and the mechanism for this, a special time doomsday device, is in play. It is up to our Protagonist to try and recover it. Along with him at times is Neil (Robert Pattinson) and against him, Andrei Sator (none other than Kenneth Branagh, that’s right Gilderoy Lockhart himself). In classic Bond fashion, Sator’s wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki) is there as well. Was there ever an evil villain who had a wife he could trust? Sator is the beneficiary of this backwards technology, in that he receives information and resources from the future. He is working towards the destruction of the world, and time is on his side!
So it is off to the races, but when time is going kittywampus for some things, how do you know who is winning? My suggestion is to pay close attention. This movie isn’t like The Prestige, where a plot twist at the end makes your second viewing let you see the movie in a whole new light. Neither is it like Inception, which left unanswered questions about the resolution of the film. While at times maybe a little confusing, particularly in the second half where some scenes have a lot of moving parts, for me this movie leaves no mystery.
Overall it was an enjoyable movie, with a few interesting twists (and some obvious) and it looks great on the big screen. The action scenes are good, but also at times bizarre. Everything about the film was decent, but I would not say exceptional.
Will this big budget film be tenable in this pandemic world? Will WB be looking for a new tenant for the director’s chair on their next blockbuster? I am not sure in this climate the allure of the film will draw the audiences needed to make up the cost. A tenet in this timeline.