TENET [Grade: B-]

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki

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Another recommendation…of sorts. Maybe more of a conversation pressured curiosity. I was in yet another Clubhouse room where the conversation was on Tenet and the creative mind of Christopher Nolan. When I watched the trailer for the first time last year, I wasn’t moved to see #Tenet. It wasn’t that it looked “bad,” I just wasn’t as interested in this seemingly hyper-masculine facing sci-fi action film…which is strange because I genuinely love action movies for the creative stunts and effects, but I think the images of John David Washington didn’t really show any emotional roundness to his character. So I figured it was just another “man-man-guns-bombs-fight-fight-macho-macho” guy-flick, and I’m never naturally moved by previews of just that. 

Now, was it NOT the “man-man-guns-bombs-fight-fight-macho-macho” guy-flick? Oh, it definitely was. But I will admit there were elements of the film that helped lightly round out some of those rigid, masculine corners. Is it something I’d watch again? Nah…not for leisure, at least. Do I want to see a Tenet 2? Yes. 

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Below are my grades for key components in #Tenet that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. I think it is also important for me to add that moving forward, I will not include a plus-rating in my breakdown, but will continue with minus-ratings.

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale. 

* * *

Theme: B

Plot: B

Pacing: B

Character Arc/Development: C

Entertainment Factor: Interesting Enough

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My Takeaways—(BOLD = Thumbs Up/Pluses, & Relaxed = Thumbs Down/Lacking/Randoms):

1. First and foremost, JDW is just a beautiful man! 😜 #FunFact—We are #MorehouseBrothers, and I actually had Human Sexuality class with him. 

2. That was possibly one of the best kitchen fights I’ve seen in a long time! 🙌🏾🙌🏾

3. I wonder do Russians have sci-fi action films that incessantly center the US as a problem? 🤦🏾‍♂️🤣

4. The airplane scene, and the scene that follows.👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾

5. Now Andrei… that rationale… really? So childish! 👀🤨

6. It took me a minute to get into Kat… She was serving when she first hit the screen, but then got real ordinary real fast after that…but her character’s purpose was delivered well. 👍🏾

7. The highlights for me were the snarky joke moments—like the “box it up” moment—because of how it helped round out our Protagonist. 👍🏾👍🏾

8. Speaking of “Protagonist,” this committed term was also something I found myself appreciating… 👍🏾

9. AND to piggyback off #8, especially when Priya throws it back at him. 🤣

10. Let me tell you something, EVERY inverted action sequence and scene was exciting to see! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

11. What’s always interesting about action films that dabble in concepts of physics is that some do a good job with making it clear enough to be followed in order for the audience to truly follow and engage with the plot; whereas most struggle, and simply choose to continue to carry on knowing that the general audience will be confused, thus treating it as a form of “suspension of disbelief.”

#Tenet straddles the fence of this understanding. On one hand, you have this semi-bland exposition where the Protagonist and audience learn about what’s happening, only to not clearly understand what’s happening. There’s even line said, and I quote, “don’t try to understand it…” LMAO Woooow. 

However, on the other hand, you are so caught up in the commitment to Nolan’s personal understanding of the concept via his visuals that you eventually DO decide to continue with a suspension of disbelief…but it would be so much more fun to watch to truly understand the ins and outs of the concept, though. 

12. Chile, what are these men talking about!? LOL LOL Especially the ending action dialogue. It seemed like the set up was for it to be a moment that would go down in cinematic history as one of the “best/most profound lines ever said,” but nothing was quite landing. 🥴🤷🏾‍♂️😅

13. Chile, now what them instruments do to you? 🤣🤣

14. Although it took a little while to come through clearly, I found the theme that alludes to understanding the past to be pretty well executed. 👍🏾👍🏾

15. Yeah, JDW was a pretty static protagonist, which is rare to see. So on one end, it’s appreciated, but 2.5 hours of static… … 😳😳

16. BUT, to piggyback off of #15, JDW delivers that static protagonist well…so well that he is the exemplar for how we might want to try and NOT do a 2.5 static protagonist in the future. 😅😅

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Overall, #Tenet is saved due to the visuals and overall concept, although the concept definitely complicates the plot, and there are moments where the concept does feel a little messy. I wouldn’t say this film is worth the 5.99 right now (price on Amazon Prime), but if you are able to see it for free some way some how, it could be an interesting watch if you’re looking for a cerebral high of sorts; and if you DO happen to watch, you’ll definitely be left wanting a sequel to possibly answer some of your confused thoughts. 

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