Watching it In-Theaters I was but The Protagonist, but now I am Neil.
I worked very hard on my TENET REVIEW. Considering I made a calculated risk to go see it during the pandemic and worked a month to edit in in video format. I thought it was too impenetrable with a pile of nothing at its centre. I was half right. I gathered the hairpin structure and predictable plot twists from being a fan of Nolan’s previous films, but I found most of the film told rather than showed the audience what was going on. The Nolan exposition tax was in full effect and working unbearable overtime. Sitting in a theater with a mask on and a lack of enforcement, it was hard to enjoy the film impenetrable outer layer. Apart from the thrillride of an opening, the film settles into the homework of explaining its premise which it never does as elegantly or as visually as it does its predecessor INCEPTION. Dream logic is easy for people to get ahold of every night. “Reverse Entropy” on the other hand is something only someone like Christopher Nolan can wrap his head around, at least on the first viewing.
I had incidentally, successfully hyped down TENET since I dragged myself to see it in theaters. I thought it would be a good subject to cover for the website and my writing and it very much was. I was able to appreciate Ludwig Goransson’s incredible score immediately, as I did Hans Zimmer’s for Dunkirk. Another Nolan film that I didn’t like and stays bad on a second viewing. I was convinced TENET was bad because its not as disciplined as his previous efforts. I was unable to comprehend the idea of Nolan “having fun” with something. On second watch TENET is a fun film. I was able to sit back and relax from the safety of my own home, and take comfort in the knowledge I already had while my father and brother watched it for the first time. I resisted correcting my brother’s many false theories during the showing about what was going on. Typical behaviour that would have been a major annoyance in the theater was amusing to me at home. Having already experienced TENET I was also able to gauge the progress of the film’s plot in a much easier manner. The thorn in the side of Christopher Nolan’s latest trip is that like his previous films it bares itself to repeat viewings. I was cautious enough (a single active case in the region and the approval of the local health unit) to risk measure a single trip to theater to go see TENET, and despite the similar minded INCEPTION being the one film I saw in theaters twice I wasn’t going to risk seeing a Hollywood film in theaters again that has done nothing for me. Plenty of my friends did. None attracted the virus thankfully, and movies remain safe.
I had figured logically, that if the movie was good enough it would play better. Afterwards I thought if it was good enough they would have held out for release, and many movie opinions still say they should have. I’m sure the highly anticipated Home Video release today will do gangbusters across all digital platforms and prove that the old releasing model still has relevance. I just wish my main self-funded movie going adventure for 2020 didn’t require so much mileage just to catch the same enjoyment as everyone else the second time around. Make no mistake, TENET is much more enjoyable at home than in theaters.
INITIAL SCORE: C/ 63 REVISED SCORE: B/ 73