If there’s one thing Christopher Nolan loves, it’s spectacle. And chaos. And headaches. Okay, so there are several things that Nolan is passionate about, and they’re all very much present in Tenet. Although the British director’s films are always touted as major blockbuster events, his latest is of course carrying a far heavier load. Billed as a litmus test for the future of the cinema industry, it’s fair to say that Tenet has been the subject of more attention than even Nolan is used to.

The good news is that Tenet definitely deserves to be seen on the big screen (and preferably in IMAX). From the explosive opening opera house sequence to the film’s many impossibly gorgeous locations, Tenet finds Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema firing on all cylinders in the graphics department, topped off with more designer suits than a Canary Wharf All Bar One. It also sounds incredible, Ludwig Göransson’s score sweeping away from the typical Nolan “braaam” towards pulsating electronic beats and haunting synth chords.

Where the film runs aground, however, is in its frustratingly convoluted plotting. Nolan borrows a lot from the video game-esque mechanics he used in Inception (including having Michael Caine pop in again to throw around some vague riddles), but overcooks it severely, adding in so many different side-plots, characters, and connections that it all becomes a bit of a migraine. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson do their best at looking like they have any idea what’s going on, but even they can’t stop the film sometimes hitting the brakes so hard it feels like it’s starting to move backwards as well as forwards.

In its finest moments, Tenet is like Pattinson’s hair: slick and immaculate. But messy plotting and deliberately confused dialogue drive the film frustratingly off-course time and time again, leaving us with Nolan’s patchiest work to date.



CAST: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

WRITER: Christopher Nolan

SYNOPSIS: A man becomes involved in a global espionage operation.