Movies

Tenet

While I’m attempting to write a largely spoiler-free piece on Tenet, reader discretion is advised.

If you went to the movies much in the six months or so leading up to the pandemic, you probably saw a trailer for Tenet. The first trailer I saw for it was very short, and to me, lackluster. But someone in the audience cheered for it – I’m still not sure why. Were they fans of John David Washington? Had they heard of Tenet?

The trailers for Tenet got longer, and I was never overly excited about it. Unlike the Emma adaptation, it sat squarely in the “sure, I’ll see it” category – but when you have the Regal movie pass, a LOT of movies fall into that category. But one of the fun things about having the movie pass and seeing a lot of movies that I wouldn’t necessarily have paid full price for, is that there’s a lot of generally decent movies. Maybe it’s because the bar is set super low and thus, exceeding my expectations isn’t hard. Either way, I’ve walked out of the vast majority of the movies I’ve seen in the last year in a half fairly pleased. (The exception to this is The Turning. That movie was just okay until it took a hard right turn off the rails and there was no redeeming it.)

Because of the pandemic, I’ve been starved for half decent looking movies. The few things that released immediately after the theaters open felt like bottom of the barrel content. Tenet marks the first decent new release, and the fact that Matt was excited about it had me stalking showtimes for that sweet spot of first showings and low crowd. On the day we went, this one showing was in a large theater with only one other ticket sold. That is pretty much the holy grail of pandemic movie watching.

I really don’t want to give away much about the movie itself. We had a really good time – I admit that I started getting a little bored at one point, but then the plot dragged me back in and I was hooked until the end. It certainly seems like a movie that needs multiple viewings – which I look forward to doing from the comfort of my home at some point.

I haven’t seen Robert Pattinson in a lot of things post-Twilight, and I have to say, either his acting has improved, he’s found his niche, or Twilight just had a terrible script. He was surprisingly delightful.

If you do see Tenet at some point, be prepared to pay attention. This isn’t a movie that you can (as I often do) write letters or play games while watching and still understand what’s going on. However, also accept the fact that there’s a lot that won’t be explained right away. You just have to let the concept ride and wait for the payoff later. By and large, you’ll be satisfied.

But you know how when you watched Inception, and by the end, it felt like your brain went WOOSH? Well, Tenet makes Inception look simplistic. I feel like it dances right on the edge of being too busy, too complex, to be enjoyable. But in the end, it pulls it off. It’s a thinker-blockbuster, one that is sure not to do as well at the box office as it deserves, given the climate. That’s too bad, because this movie is actually worth seeing, and would be good fodder for friend circle conversations.

When you get the chance, whether it’s in your local theater or your couch, make an event of Tenet.

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