Movie Reviews,  Reviews

Tenet – Christopher Nolan’s ‘Time Bond’!

Runtime2h 30m

Wow! What’s going on? I get it! What’s going on? Wow! Imagine you walk out of the theatre to see you walk in at the same time. Welcome to Tenet, where Christopher Nolan’s fascination with ‘Time’ continues. If there is any film-maker who can woo audience to the big screen during the Covid time, it is none other than Christopher Nolan.

Nolan makes us think and entertain at the same time!

Tenet is the latest offering from one of my favourite directors ‘Christopher Nolan’. Originality, Practical effects over VFX, Intrigue, Suspense, Stunning Visuals, Excellent Background Score are some of the traits I love about Nolan films. He is one of those rare modern era filmmakers who makes us think and entertain at the same time.

Tenet tells the story about a secret agent’s quest to prevent World War III. With Tenet, Nolan explores the world of International Espionage with a mix of Science Fiction. Tenet stars the iconic Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington as the protagonist. He is like a James Bond or an Ethan Hunt trying to save the world by manipulating the flow of time. Washington aces the role and has a fantastic screen presence.

Tenet, a palindrome, is full of hidden clues to uncover! Characters are used as ‘Tools’ to convey what’s unfolding!

Tenet is completely plot driven to the extent that it uses its characters including the protagonist as ‘tools’ to convey what’s going on. Hence, the characters’ lack depth and could not get emotionally invested in them.

Tenet has the protagonist ease through most of the complex proceedings without a scratch. There are no evident vulnerabilities which makes him less human. This has partly to do with the Villain. An Antagonist is as equally important as the Protagonist.

Kenneth Branagh is a wonderful actor and has given a good performance as Sator, a Russian oligarch. But barring some ominous lines delivered by him, he isn’t as menacing as some of the memorable villains from the previous Nolan films. Imagine the Joker paired against the Batman in ‘The Dark Knight’. Joker knew exactly how and where to push the Batman. Batman faces a lot of heat and the tension keeps on building which makes us root and feel for him.

Tenet has an ensemble cast supporting Washington. Robert Pattinson as Neil, with a Masters in Physics helps the Protagonist with his mission. There is a good camaraderie between Washington and Pattinson whenever they are on screen. Dimple Kapadia as Priya, an arms dealer gets a meaty role and does well. But Elizabeth Debicki’s character ‘Kat’ was the only one I could emotionally resonate with. Tenet spends some time initially, to establish Kat’s relationship with the Protagonist but the same is underdeveloped. Inception had Cobb trying to reunite with his Children and Interstellar had the father-daughter relationship – We feel for them.

Tenet is visually stunning with some riveting action sequences!

Tenet is a visual spectacle with the opening scene at the Opera setting the pace. The cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema is stunning with a good background score by Ludwig Göransson. Tenet has some exhilarating action sequences. Like the famous ‘revolving corridor fight scene’ in Inception, Tenet too has a corridor hand to hand combat which is fought “forward and backward in time”- Brilliant! But my favourites are the car chase and the reverse exploding building – Incredible! The beautiful locations and the camera angles makes Tenet a ‘Cinematic’ experience!

Spoilers can’t spoil a Christopher Nolan film!

Tenet has two interesting lines, one of which is being told to the Protagonist by a scientist “Don’t try to understand it! Feel it!”. The second one is the Protagonist telling Neil “Try and keep up”. This could be Nolan telling the audience to feel the movie even if you don’t get the entire stuff. You will need subtitles for Tenet as there is too much exposition.


Tenet could be perceived differently in years to come with many deep layered review and analysis. Having seen all the films from Christopher Nolan except Dunkirk, I’ll say Tenet would be my least favourite. Tenet while it packs a punch as a Sci-Fi action film, lacks an emotional connect. As a standalone entertainer, I had a good time watching Tenet. But it’s a Christopher Nolan film! The expectation is on a different level! It’s a given that Nolan films would be aesthetically splendid and for the same, Tenet deserves to be seen on a big screen.

Have you read my views on the Old School Horror Thrillers vs Modern day ones? Read here

Image source: IMDB
Image and Video Credits: YouTube

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  • Deepak Mohan

    I am not a Christopher Nolan fanboy like my brother who thinks everything that chris poops out is gold , but my brother has successfully peaked my interest into watching the movie . I wanna do this movie justice and watch it when I have the mental capacity to concentrate on nothing but the movie . My brother has nothing but high praise for the movie . I think this review is perfect as it clearly showcases the movies pros and cons without being judgey and condescending.

    • Prakash Thampi

      Tenet as a standalone movie is a good entertainer! I love Nolan for the originality, and the intrigue and cinematic vision! He is one of those rare filmmakers who can entertain and at the same time, make us think! Not my favorite Nolan film, but its a visual spectacle with some fantastic thrills!

  • Joyson

    I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan. On of the best directors of our time who just knows how to keep the audienes gripped into his creations.

    Very nice review Prakash. I was like the way you point out to the hits and misses. You definitely invoke the sense of eagerness in the reader. Good going!! 👍👍

  • Sita

    This is a damn good write up da..nvr been a fan of SciFi movies… the way you analised each section of the movie is awesome…going great 👍👍

  • Arun Muraleedharan

    Hi Prakash,

    Haven’t seen the film. Really felt as if watching the movie in a theater. As from your words, ” its a must watch one”

    Expecting more from you !!!

  • Jis Jerald

    Nolan’s movies has this capacity to make u think abt it for several days and tenet is no different. This is definitely a movie which u will need to watch twice to understand wats going on 😁.. The first time watching it, I was a little lost at some parts. Once you get to the complex parts of this movie, there’s really no turning back. However, once you begin to understand the story and the timeline of the movie, it’s a very rewarding feeling. The actors all did fantastic job. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson really made a fantastic combo. And Elizabeth Debicki was very compelling in her role.
    Kudos to u prak for writing a review on such a complex movie and doing a good job at it

    • Prakash Thampi

      Thanks Jis 😊 The actors did a good job with the roles presented to them but I could not emotionally resonate with any except Debicki’s character. But hers too felt underdeveloped. Maybe because, of the plot and the entire focus on that, the human elements were under-cooked! Visuals, action set pieces, all were usual Nolan👌 but the relationships and the care you feel for certain pivotal characters was missing for me! All this considering its a Nolan film – the expectation is huge!

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