Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher Nolan
Since his cult classic Memento (2000), Christopher Nolan has time and time again proved he is both a talented writer and director. His helming of the Batman Trilogy with Christian Bale was a marvelous take on that often rehashed storyline. Then he wowed audiences with Inception (2010) with Leonardo DiCaprio. He likes to play with the ideas of memory and time. He really dived deep into these idea with Interstellar (2014). Another great mark of a artist that he is to reveal as little as possible about his films and even in the film’s trailers he gives you just enough to peak your curiosity and not give away the film at all. That is such a breath of fresh air given how most trailers nowadays show you all the highlights and you essentially know what the film is about and how it ends. Nolan is a master storyteller ad he handles the writing and directing roles with ease here. This film was complex, and action packed yet did not feel so confusing to follow. This film is one meant to be seen on the big screen. This will be a ‘Writing a Movie RIGHT’ review.
Tenet stars John David Washington as the unnamed Protagonist. Robert Pattinson as Neil, a Tenent operative, who helps the Protagonist run missions in effort to prevent World War III by inverting time.
Here come the spoilers.
The film kicks off with a terrorist attack on an opera house. The pacing is tight and fast and we quickly get thrown into a CIA operation that is trying to pull out a spy whose cover is blown and extract an artifact he is carrying. The protagonist (John David Washington) is captured and subsequently tortured to give up is team. He refuses and takes a cyanide capsule to die. He wakes up to learn this was a test and that he will no longer work for the CIA as there is a bigger threat and mission that impacts the entire world. He is given the codeword Tenet and sent to track down the source of the unusual bullets used in the attack. He is shown by a scientist studying the bullets that they are inverted or their entropy has been reversed. Meaning the bullets are travelling back through time while we are moving forward. The film does not hold your hand at all and it keeps a quick pace as the protagonist is tracking down the source of these bullets to learn more about what is going on. He soon crosses paths with Neil (Robert Pattinson) who helps him on the coming operations. As the film progresses, we learn about the artifacts are pieces of a device sent back through time to destroy the world.
The protagonist eventually has to come face to face with a Russian Oligarch Andrei Sator whose estranged wife is being blackmailed by him over a forged painting, but her desires to stay in touch with her son keep her trapped in her marriage. This human element to the story plays out well against the tempo of the action. Other operatives working for Tenet do get quickly introduced and although it would have been nice to get more background for these characters it is just amazing to see how instantly people are trusting of people inverted through time. My only misgiving for this part is that some sort of knowledge reveal or deep secret would need to be exchanged to validate the level of immediate trust. Just to avoid betrayals in this line of work.
The concepts of time inversion are well explained and even so provide so much complexity to the film’s plot. It is a technical feat to display people moving backwards and forward in a film at such a scale. The ‘loops’ or when we see things from another character’s ‘time’ perspective is quite engaging and interesting. I think that alone will beg for at least a repeat viewing alone. With great performances by the cast and explanations that don’t slow down the pace of the film make this another great film in a great director’s portfolio. I can’t wait to see what this brilliant writer and director comes up with next to delight audiences. This is what a cinematic experience should be.
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