Year: 2020
Rating: PG-13
Length: 150 minutes / 2.50 hours

I’ll admit: I probably have to watch this movie again. I’m usually pretty good at unraveling a Christopher Nolan movie when I watch it for the first time. Not since Memento (2000), have I had such a difficult time piecing together the intertwining timelines. At least with Memento, I was aided by the black-and-white sections. In Tenet (2020), time moves in both directions in the same scene. Sure, this is a visually-stunning feat, but it’s often a slap in the face of the Grandfather Paradox, which Tenet simply waves away with a shrug and a “don’t worry about it.”

What’s interesting is how moments of foreshadowing in this film triggered my “lightbulb reflex” each time the corresponding portion of the plot came into focus and gave me the “aha moment.” I’m sure I’ll pick up more of these when I watch it a second time. As it stands after a single viewing, my mind was exhausted by the end as I tried to keep track of everything that was happening. Sure, it helps when the movie revisits a few key scenes in forward and backward time (thus giving the audience more time to piece together everything).

I think the main issue I had with this film was how it was trying so hard to sell the “time travel” concept within the standard action film framework. Why did the antagonist want to destroy the world? Narcissism, probably—which isn’t that strong of a motivator in my book. I’m sure this would be the type of film Nolan would make if he tried his hand at the James Bond franchise. As it stands, I feel there are some logical plot holes that weaken the movie as a whole. Sure, I love the amazing Inception (2010)-like visuals but unraveling such a complex idea like this only caused me to ask more questions.

Visually stunning, but mind-numbingly complex, I give Tenet 4.0 stars out of 5.

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