Spoilers might have already told you everything.
The premise of this film involves a little theory about time that is at the crux of every plot twist, but also becomes integral to the film as we move forward. Or the other way. So, if you want to watch and experience this for the first time when you see it, stop reading and go watch it. On the other hand, explaining this film’s plot beyond a few lines requires me to at least reveal what the thing is.
Tenet (2020) was written and directed by Christopher Nolan. A CIA Agent participating in an anti-terrorist operation gets caught and manages to consume a cyanide pill. Meet the Protagonist (John David Washington), an operative that finds himself now working for a secret organization whose members identify themselves using the word tenet. The organization is trying to prevent a world-ending event by a group that has discovered the way to invert time.
Time, in this movie’s universe, forms part of the entropy of all things. Using certain devices, you can invert the flow of time of anything that you put in there and have it behave in reverse. That apparently also includes human beings. After examining this effect on a piece of wall and have it return bullets, our Protagonist tracks the cartridges to an arms dealer in Mumbai. To assist, he hires the services of Neil (Robert Pattinson). The trail will eventually lead to Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). To get close to him, the Protagonist will need to help his estranged wife Katherine (Elizabeth Debicki), who lives her life as hostage to her violent husband.
This is both an action film and science-fiction one. The idea that time is a property that can be individually inverted for an object or an individual is a little bit of a suspension of disbelief that takes a while to get used to. However, once you entertain the notion, you’ll start to pick up on certain cues throughout the plot. The movie does not try to explain how it’s done, but rather ask us to accept the premise and follow along. I’m not going to spoil anything further, but it can be a very compelling watch.
The performances of the main cast are quite strong. John David Washington shines, although he has strong competition from Robert Pattinson who does steal the film a few times. Elizabeth Debicki’s role and demeanor of a woman with an agency of her own makes her Katherine into a stronger character by the end of the film. For an action film, every character is rather engaging and I was invested. The exception is probably Branagh’s Sator who’s a rather basic villain.
Highly recommended with reservations. For Christopher Nolan fans, it will be almost a required watch. I found the performances strong and the characters engaging. The premise, regardless of scientific value, is executed cleanly although I’m sure there’s a couple of temporal loopholes for dramatic license that repeated viewing should reveal. Now whether it’s worth to watch on a full theatre, that I leave up to you. My strategy was to pick a smaller cinema and go for the early screening to have the entire theatre all to myself.
That will do for now.