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Academy Award® Nominee
Armed with only one word--Tenet--and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in...  View more >

Starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Oct 1, 2020
Director Christopher Nolan carries a lot of weight in the movie industry. His record of movies have endeared him to many movie fans, which makes him an A-list director among movie studios. That status allows him to make movies others wouldn't be able to succeed in getting a green light for.

On top of the responsibility of releasing an ambitious movie, he had the added responsibility of having that movie be the linchpin of the entire theatrical movie industry by having it be released in the middle of a pandemic, which saw the shutdown of every movie theater in the country, and thousands around the world. While other movies scrambled for later release dates, it was released to as many theaters as possible at the beginning of September (it was supposed to be released in July).

Why does this matter in a movie review? Because a lot was riding on the success or failure of this movie, and an overwhelming amount of attention was paid to how it performed. The problem is, Christopher Nolan hasn't been in the habit of making simple popcorn movies lately, and Tenet follows the same formula he started with Inception and continued with Interstellar. These are movies in which you both have to think about and also allow its internal logic to flow through those thoughts, or you're not going to enjoy the movie very much.

It's for this reason that I'm giving it a Wait for Rental rating. It's not a bad movie, but it's not a great one either. Both of those other movies are more enjoyable, and I've had plenty of conversations with fellow movie fans about the twists and turns and the worlds built in those movies. I don't see myself having those kinds of conversations very often with Tenet.

I can handle the time-bending gymnastics that are at the center conceit of Tenet, even though I do admit to being confused at times which way I was seeing things (or supposed to be seeing things). The dialog can be hard to understand, which is a hallmark of Nolan as of late, but when you have a confusing storyline and lots of action, you really need to understand something, and the dialog during exposition would be nice to understand...

Perhaps my opinion of the movie will change with a subsequent viewing, but I don't foresee myself picking this one up on video. If someone wanted to see it, however, I wouldn't avoid it but I might possibly warn them of what they're getting themselves into. And then, maybe that viewing and the ensuing conversation about the movie would help me to appreciate it more.

Those factors make me pretty confident that this is a "Wait for Rental" kind of movie.

That fact also makes it clear that the expectations of this movie to reflect the state of the moviegoing industry in the U.S. right now is unfair pressure for any movie, and it results in an inaccurate judgement about whether or not more mainstream new releases would succeed, even when theaters in major markets are still shuttered.

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