First, a public service announcement — the pandemic sucks, but don’t be scared. It’s safe to go the the movies.
There’s been many demands for the eminent Christopher Nolan to be allowed a chance at directing a James Bond film, but for better or worse, he’s never been given the chance, so he’s done what every self-respecting spy movie-loving auteur should do — make one himself!
Taking time in his hands — literally — Nolan crafts a tale that is equal parts Casino Royale, The Terminator and, of course, his first masterpiece, Memento; that much I will say about the plot at hand — you’ll have to see it for yourself.
The performers are in as fine a form as they have ever been — John David Washington (BlackKklansman) is great as the story’s man with no name, equal parts Daniel Craig’s 007 and his father’s performance in The Magnificent Seven. Robert Pattinson (The Batman) has truly overcome his pseudo-stardom brought about by the Twilight franchise and as The Protagonist’s ally, Neil, is suave and tough while not appearing campy. Sir Kenneth Branagh (Death on the Nile), as the film’s nihilistic antagonist Andrei Sator, is genuinely horrifying — moreso than his performance in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Sator is a villain that will cut off your head and piss down your neck. The real lynchpin in this equation is the vastly underrated Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2) as the lonely Katherine — fair skinned and flaxen-haired and trapped in a painful situation that others would sooner commit suicide to get out of.
Beautifully photographed, as always, on 70MM stock, this is a visual five-course dinner from DP Hoyte Van Hoytema (Spectre), just below Interstellar in scope but above Dunkirk in the realm of amazement. Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson (The Mandalorian) takes up where Nolan regular Hans Zimmer left off with a rollicking score that brings to mind the work of Tom Tykwer, Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek on Cloud Atlas, not once feeling like an imitation of Zimmer.
While it won’t quite scratch the itch of those looking for a Christopher Nolan-directed 007 film, Tenet is still a damn fine movie that may well save the cinemagoing experience as we know it — it begs to be seen in the biggest screen available to you. As the marketing reminds us, time runs out — don’t wait for the Blu-ray.