“Don’t try to understand it, feel it”. Clemency Poesy plays a physicist that says this to John David Washington’s character (only known as The Protagonist) early on, in Christopher Nolan’s latest. It’s probably the most appropriate message to apply when seeing it as though it’s definitely engaging from beginning to end, it keeps stimulating your mind. Indeed, I can only think of saying that the story involves Washington’s character as a spy, being recruited to help prevent WW3. This links all the way up to Kenneth Branagh’s character Andrei, a Russian oligarch and the villain although there’s much more to that. Oh, and Robert Pattison plays Neil, effectively The Protagonist’s character and in what must be fantastic preparation for his Batman reboot has a brilliant rapport with him.
This is the first new film I’ve seen at the cinema since pre-lockdown (before this I tried Jumanji 3 as like a test run), and I can only say that you must watch this at the cinema. Compared to Inception (one of Nolan’s best), and maybe this is because unlike that where you could instantly say “Oh it’s a dream heist thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio”, this is a sci-fi spy thriller that probably doesn’t reward different interpretations on repeat viewings. Sadly, Tenet can then get distracting at times, although I don’t think it’s in doubt that unlike say the later Steven Moffat Doctor Whos, it’s not exactly saying “Oh look at me I’m cool because I’m confusing”.
So, although its complexity frustrates at times because of how I just compared it to Inception, I have to say Christopher Nolan really delivered a variety of director tricks out the stops here. As your first blockbuster to go and watch since COVID-19 began it is worth stepping out and giving a chance. Under any scenario though its value stands out, even if it succumbs a bit to its whole intricacy.