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Tenet: A needlessly confusing, complex tale

  • Published at 02:02 pm October 30th, 2020

After a 7-month hiatus, I wish I could say watching a long-awaited movie in a cinema hall was a breath of fresh air

Those who are familiar with the works of Christopher Nolan know that he likes to dabble with concepts such as “time,” and “space” which is a recurring theme in many of his movies.

However, unlike Inception, and Interstellar, the latest movie by one of the greatest directors of 21st-century Hollywood does not simply cut it.

Being a fan of Memento, The Prestige, and Insomnia, and the other aforementioned two movies, one cannot expect anything short of brilliance from the man who presented the world with The Dark Knight Trilogy.

The first disappointment came when Dunkirk came out. Another recurring theme of Nolan is the narrative that is usually broken or meticulously cut to pieces that makes watching his movies a treat to eyes (and brain). However, with Dunkirk, came the first blow. Whilst many praise the narrative, which was quite thrilling, the movie overall was good at best.

Also read:  Star Cineplex opens with Tenet and Mulan

Now, Tenet, an uberly confusing and complicated tale, does not hold a torch to its predecessors, which would forever remain classic masterpieces. A common trope in both big and small screens nowadays is time travel and interlinking past, present, and future. When compared to similar movies such as Predestination, which is unique, but here it feels like the theme has been played out, over and over again.

The reverse bullets and reverse scenes and choreography (and technology) must have been difficult to shoot. But as an audience, one loses interest and all investment in a movie, if they cannot follow the storyline or narrative. At one point, towards the end of the movie, when there was a war, the build up to the climax was mediocre at best and one couldn't care less what the outcome is.

After a 7-month hiatus, I wish I could say watching a long-awaited movie in a cinema hall was a breath of fresh air. The acting and soundtracks were mediocre at best. And watching it in Dolby Atmos, one expects better editing where one can actually hear the conversation. And with Cineplex charging extra after reopening for recuperating losses, I dare say it is a waste of money.

With Nolan’s movies however, he likes to sell the full package. After watching the movies in theatres, he expects the patrons to go and buy the blu-ray and watch it over and over. And that’s what happens with many of his movies. You discover new things and keep coming back for more for those easter eggs. With multiple watchings, you understand and appreciate the movies more and more.

I remember the first time I watched Inception and Interstellar. Inception was completely a new concept but the ideas were bite-sized that could be chewed and swallowed by the audience. I did not watch it in the theatres since I got bad reviews from my peers. And I remember giving my friends flak for it later, after watching it on my laptop, because it was nothing short of a masterpiece.

I remember not liking Interstellar the first time I watched it in the theatre. But with more viewings, it has become better and better, like an acquired taste. And maybe, Nolan’s movies are made for laptops where one can pause and rewind and watch. And definitely more than once to understand the movie.

I don’t know if Tenet can do the same thing. This seemed unnecessarily complex, but by all means please watch it and then critique for yourself. Do not let this review prevent you from watching the movie.

Hope, like an aging wine, this too gets better when I come back to it six months or one year from now, and maybe I’ll like it then.

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