Movie Review: Tenet


I never would have thought a year ago that I would not see any movie in a theater from early March to early September 2020 or that I would have to wear a mask. Things have changed in the movie industry in the past year, and the reality is that things may never be the same as they were again. Now there are rules for all theaters, starting with extreme cleanliness, no working water fountains, bathrooms with every other appliance blocked off. Social distancing stickers were all over the floor and understandably there were only a small number of people in the movie theater. The reality is, due to the world wide tragedy of the Corona Virus, the number of people who regularly go to the movies may never get back to the way it was in 2019.

Unfortunately my return to a movie theater after 6 months included sitting through 2 1/2 hours of one of the worst movies I have ever seen – “Tenet”, written and directed by Christoper Nolan. As Nolan has tried to prove in every movie he has ever made; he is more interested in being very different than entertaining or inspiring an audience. In just about every scene in Tenet, there is no explanation, no transition, no real story and no respect for the viewing audience. After two hours of this, I could not wait for this ridiculous nightmare of a movie to be over. After 2 1/2 hours, it was almost impossible to not walk out of the theater. I find movies like Tenet that make no effort to make the story understandable – infuriating. With Nolan it seems at times he has this attitude of, “its not my responsibility to explain my stories, let the audience fend for themselves.” For those of us who aspire to write a great screenplay and have it made into a great movie, seeing bad movies like Tenet are even more unbearable to sit through.

Tenet mostly stars John David Washington and in a much smaller role, Robert Pattinson. They are both part of some kind of a CIA organization called Tenet with a purpose that is never explained. What is also never really explained are these various tools and bullets that when used or touched act in reverse time – which is some kind of new science that was invented by some Russian organization, for reasons that are also never explained. What is the purpose during this entire movie to have the ability to reverse time? Where was the gain, financial or otherwise in reversing time within this story? None of this is ever explained. This movie makes no sense on any level and is a complete waste of 2 1/2 hours.

Some of the reviews I have read on Rotten Tomatoes include:

“The final action sequence is completely incomprehensible. Does Nolan even care? Like “Inception,” “Tenet” characters spend gobs of screen time explaining to us, and each other, what’s happening. That’s a rookie screenwriting tic that Nolan can’t stop repeating. Then again, what could possibly clear up this 2 hour, 31 minute smoke bomb of a movie.” – Sean Collier

“A massive, sprawling, largely incomprehensible mess, albeit with Nolan’s usual slick action scenes and sense of weight.” – Christopher Lloyd

Despite all of these horrendous reviews, the overall score for Tenet is an ridiculous 74%. My rating is a 3% – only for some of the special effects. Can we finally put an end to movies like this and directors who do not care about the audience, including Michael Bay and all of his Transformer movies? Just because something has never been done before with an idea that has never been seen before, does not make any movie good, or ever worth seeing.

I have no idea why Micheal Caine , Himesh Patel or Kenneth Branagh agreed to act in this perfect example of an extremely bad movie, other than perhaps giving back a favor they owed to Nolan or some production company.

Tenet is one of the worst movies I have ever seen and should never even be copied to DVD – because it is just that bad. Run from this horrible mess.

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