Tenet Review: Nolan does it again

4 min readOct 12, 2020


The only bad thing about this movie? That it had to be released in one of the worst years of our lives. This movie is so beautifully written and produced, and the execution of it all is really mind blowing. One of my favorite things about Nolan? He doesn’t use CGI unless he absolutely has to. He loves the big set pieces and he is a genius at pulling them off. My next favorite thing about Nolan? He doesn’t dumb down the script to satisfy a majority of people. He makes his art the way he wants to. I read this quote recently and I can’t remember where but it basically said “ if you want dumb action, with no consequences or even a plot, go watch a Michael bay movie”. Perfect way to respond to some of the comments on here. It’s simple, if you didn’t get it, watch it again, maybe a few more times until you can appreciate it. If you still can’t, stick to the simple movies. But don’t get on here and bash this incredible movie. Nolan is a genius. The cast and crew did something remarkable here, and I wish it could have been appreciated by bigger audiences. Thanks China.

To sum up, see this movie several times and you should absolutely love it, and more importantly, appreciate the work put into it.

I’ve just seen this movie a few hours ago. I hate to say it, but I’m pretty dissapointed (since I loved Nolan’s movies Memento, The Prestige and The Dark Knight).

What I liked:

  • Costumes
  • Some of the camera-work (pretty much all that wasn’t action itself)

Most of the acting (considering the burden of the script)

What I disliked:

  • Chaotic action — I really hate how almost every movie nowadays tries to make action as fast and chaotic as possible. Even though there are a few good examples of using chaotic action — this was not one of them…
  • Heavy reliance on one particular visual gimmick, which gets real old real fast

No memorable music. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a new movie with really distinct movie theme. This was just another generic “try-to-be-as-epic-as-possible” uninspired score.

  • But most of all — is there some manual for screenwriters/directors nowadays saying that you shouldn’t try to make your audiance to be emotionally invested in your characters? During all of the movie I was telling myself: “am I supposed to care what happens next?”. The Protagonist is just somehow there (and yeah — the the main hero is called is “Protagonist” — they didn’t even bother to give him a name — or maybe it was just some excersice in pretentiousness). I don’t know what drives him, what are his fears, what is his past. Simply — no character exposition with maybe one exception concerning his willingness to obey rules. If he died 1 hour into the movie, I wouldn’t mind. The same goes for pretty much all the characters.

In conclusion -it’s a shame. The basic idea is decent and it is obvious, that most of the of the film crew is really competent. But this movie was just another example of form above substance and the biggest dissapointment in a long time for me…

I think that giving this movie 5 stars is generous. I will not mention horrible audio edit done on this movie as you can read about it in almost every other review (clue: too loud. My head was pounding. The score VERY loud while dialogues were on a quiet side).

The movie was slow, in spite of very fast action sequences (seems like a paradox but it’s true). You know when movie is bad when you start nervously looking at your watch counting minutes to the end of the movie. 150 minutes — WAY too long.

To be frank, I am not sure how this movie could be fixed as it was very hard to follow. I think that with “Tenet”, Nolan jumped the shark.

Christopher Nolan has quite often examined the theme and idea of time in his movies. How it works, how it could be meddled with, how it could be made to work for interesting narrative. Tenet, his latest, just might be his magnum opus in that regard. It’s a story about an unnamed protagonist, who gets tangled into something far larger than anything he has dealt before. Objects have been tampered with in the future and now they’re travelling backwards through time, which threatens to unmake the very fabric of reality.

A simple enough concept on paper. Well, simple-ish. And while the plot of Tenet isn’t the hardest to understand, Nolan does his best to create as much spectacle out of it as he can. The man has always been a masterful visual storyteller. Things happen on screen in this movie that will blow your mind. Entire action set pieces are built upon the idea that different pieces and people within them are moving in two different directions chronologically.

And that makes for some really compelling cinema. Visually this is a superb film. Astonishing, grandiose, even awe-inspiring. Structurally it could be better. My friends and I exited the theatre with proverbial smoke pouring out of our ears, asking the simple question of what just happened. To Nolan’s credit, he does tie of the strings well enough. The film does make sense if you think about it long enough. But it’s far from elegantly told.

I also wasn’t sold on the characters. Nolan’s films are always more driven by concepts and ideas than characters, but usually I still end up caring about them more than I did here. This is not to say the characters in this film were bad, but they also weren’t that great either. Although the actors were giving it their all.

I think that Nolan bit off more than he could chew with this film. Albeit only just. Tenet is a complex idea wrapped in visual spectacle and some of the finest cinematography seen in years. But it’s not a movie I see myself returning to year after year.