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Tenet Review

The Buff and The Blazer December 20, 2020 346

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The Buff and the Blazer Episode 52: Tenet Review

Tenet: Don’t Understand, Don’t Matter

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet exemplifies his style in every way. It fits right in with his standard of filmmaking. The quality of the film is excellent from top to bottom. It features exotic locations and impressive practical effects. Nolan’s writing style also shines through, and we get familiar themes told in a complicated way. All of these elements complete another great Nolan production.

Master Craft
Tenet plane
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Tenet is a shining example of a modern Hollywood blockbuster. It features massive action sequences, exotic locations, and lots of live extras. Nolan uses minimal CGI, and his reliance on practical effects calls back to old Hollywood. This film has some of the most ambitious practical effects in recent memory. Its hallmark piece involves crashing a real 747 jumbo jet into a building! The final act also features a massive sequence with blown out buildings, explosions, helicopters, and lots of extras. When paired with IMAX cinematography, the spectacle is enormous.

Tenet Gif
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The stunts in Tenet are also impressive. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson did a lot of their own stunts. Some included bungee jumping onto and off of tall buildings. The fight choreography was also challenging to execute. The choreography had to make sense for two people moving in opposite directions of time. To make matters more complicated, the final act features two companies of soldiers moving in opposite directions in time. All of that occurs in the same frame and sequence. It all required master precision and coordination to execute.

Weaving it all Together
John David Washington Robert Pattinson
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Other vital elements of Nolan’s films are his intricate storytelling style and obsession with time. Both come together and influence the broader narrative. For example, Memento and Dunkirk do not use the typical ABC structure. The events occur backward or out of order. Things ultimately get brought back together at the end. Tenet does something similar. Instead of larger events told out of order, it features smaller, more controlled moments moving simultaneously forwards and backward in time. Sound confusing? It is, but understanding every little detail is unimportant. 

John David Washington Tenet
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The best way to understand Tenet comes from one of the film’s lines: “Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.” That advice is appropriate here as many will drive themselves crazy, trying to make sense of the entire plot. More importantly, the film entertains and dares you to think a little harder than most other films. That, in itself, will cause you to appreciate the craftsmanship and thought that went into the entire production.

Tenet is available on home video now

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