In these times of pandemic, almost all the “majors” have decided to postpone their most outstanding premieres, waiting for better times where normality takes hold, the spectators return to the rooms and they are fully open. Therefore, it seems a romantic suicide that Warner Bros has decided that one of its star projects, such as “Tenet”, now reaches us on the big screen. A risky move that we trust will go well and the expected profits will be achieved, because let’s not forget that cinema is a business whose goal is to make the high investment profitable and not to play at changing the world, via social engineering, as it seems to be trying today. Hollywood, which may end up reducing the number of viewers who pass the box office, since the political discourse must be offered by the director (as an artist) and not executives who follow the wave of the mainstream.
And in that, Christopher Nolan is a master, because he manages to combine the spectacle of the masses with a vital interpretation “against the current” and far from being politically correct. With “Tenet” he returns to unite a complicated story, with an overwhelming staging and a moral explanation (therefore political) that impresses. We commented in the review dedicated to “Dunkerque” the importance that Nolan usually gives to the individual in front of the collective, something that we also see in “Tenet”, where the protagonists do not belong to a known governmental entity and even one of them it has no name, as in the Leone tapes with Clint Eatswood. They are guys who must save the population from a future world war to which we are heading. Those humans of the future are the ones who try to change the present to avoid the apocalypse, sending weapons that violate entropy, as a thermodynamic magnitude and with portals that can lead to the recent past, although some things cannot be changed, as explained by the character played by Robert Pattinson: “what’s past is past.” A script impossible to explain here and that has created great controversy among a certain critical sector that, with probability, has only remained on the surface. There are many explanations, but I’ll stick with the one we read on Twitter to Cristian Campos, where ironically the hero would condemn future humanity to the twilight for saving a woman and her son, whom he barely knows, while the villain would become involuntary redeemer by committing suicide by an incurable disease traveling to the moment when he was happy. We agree with Campos that it is essential to see the film several times since there are two and a half hours of footage where multiple details escape at first viewing, as happens with Tarkovski, Bergman or David Lynch, and as in much of American cinema the staging exceeds the “script”.
On “Tenet,” Nolan offers an advanced course in directing, a sense of rhythm and a talent as a filmmaker. From the very first scene at the Kiev Opera, it makes it clear to us that we are going to attend a mammoth show, with unspeakable sequences and shocking action scenes, especially if we take into account that they are shot during the day, something very complicated and that we had not seen. so well filmed from another gem such as Villenauve’s “Sicario”, who later bequeathed us “The Arrival”, a work with which “Tenet” bears some relation in the way of understanding time as a dimension and the use of palindromes. Although Nolan wraps science fiction in an adventure vehicle, a la James Bond, with visits to numerous countries where something important, pyrotechnic and lavish happens in all. To do this, he relies on fabulous special effects, an edition where he intersperses linear and parallel montage, past, present and future signed by a technician on the rise like Jennifer Lame, the usual good work with Hoyte Van Hoytema’s photography and a tense soundtrack by Ludwig Göransson, full of electronic effects and percussion. In the acting chapter, positive Robert Pattinson, increasingly better actor and negative John David Washington, of whom we believe that his countenance does not vary throughout the film. Among the secondary, Kenneth Branagh repeats that he creates a villain, perhaps too much, excessive and bombastic and the towering Elizabeth Debicky in the role of a “vase” woman attacked by an unscrupulous millionaire as happened in the series “The infiltrator”, based on the novel by Le Carré. It is what makes this sample of how necessary Nolan is in today’s cinema does not reach the outstanding. Still, it will be the best of the year.