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Tenet Might Be One of Christopher Nolan’s Worst Films

Photo: Warner Bros. John David Washington (left) and Robert Pattinson (right)

By Diane Mwai

Unless you are as smart as Albert Einstein or Issac Newton, then Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet” might not be for you.

The filmmaker Christopher Nolan is known for his eccentric and intricate themes about the manipulation of the human mind. His film “Inception” is nothing short of this. The main character Dom Cobb is a thief who has the ability to enter people’s dreams and plant ideas. Cobb’s abilities make him a powerful asset to those in the business of espionage.

“Inception” is highly regarded as one of the best movies to come out of 2010 and it is clear to see why. The film has exceptional visuals, screenplay, enterprise and musical scoring earning nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay to name a few.

It is easy to see why hopes were high for Nolan’s 2020 film Tenet.

The film follows the main character named “the Protagonist,” played by John David Washington, a nameless ex-CIA agent, who is on a race to save humanity with his sidekick Neil, played by the Twilight idol, Robert Pattinson. The Protagonist now works for an organization, Tenet, whose mission is to prevent the start of another world war from a deadly weapon: time-bending.

Time-bending refers to inverted entropy that allows things to move backwards through time.

Its complex theme sounds intriguing but when executed it fails to give viewers the minimum information needed to grasp the film.

It almost seems bringing the idea to life was too elusive; viewers are thrown for a whirlwind trying to decide whether what is happening is in real time, something of the past, or if it is all happening simultaneously.

The film jumps through scenes without giving the viewer time to blink. Though the visuals are aesthetically pleasing, you can easily lose track.

Unlike his film Inception, “Tenet” leaves you with too many unanswered questions. To add to the confusion, the antagonist’s motives are never clear.

Is he involved with the sources that created inverted entropy? Does he want to take over the world? He seems more so to be a cliche “bad guy” that loves money, beats his wife and is highly driven by the idea that if he cannot be with his wife then no one can.

“The Protagonist” plays into the narrative of a guy that never involves his heart with his work but does the exact opposite all while maintaining a physical lack of emotion throughout the entirety of the film. He appears to be the most undeveloped character even though the story revolves around his journey to save humanity.

The poorly executed concept seemingly would ensure that movie goers leave with a throbbing headache and confusion for days. 

I’m not quite sure if the poor execution is all due to Nolan. The concept remains perplexing even to the brightest minds. Maybe one day we will all be able to see “Tenet” for what it was supposed to be, and not the disarray that we received.  

Edited by Alivia Moore & John H. Glenn

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham