TENET (2020) – My rating: 6.5/10

Tenet is a science fiction action-thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who produced it with Emma Thomas. Tenet is a co-production between the United Kingdom and the United States. The plot follows a CIA secret agent as he manipulates the flow of time to prevent World War III.

I had heard Tenet was anticipated among viewers but wasn’t as good as was expected, I concur.


A CIA agent, known as the “Protagonist” (John David Washington), takes part in an undercover operation at Ukraine’s Kyiv opera house. His life is saved by a masked soldier with a red trinket, who “un-fires” a bullet through a gunman. After seizing an artifact, the Protagonist is captured by mercenaries. He endures torture before consuming cyanide. He awakens to learn the cyanide was a test of loyalty, his team has been killed, and the artifact is lost.

The Protagonist is recruited by an organization called Tenet. A scientist shows him bullets with “inverted” entropy, in which they move backward through time. She believes they are manufactured in the future, and a weapon exists that can wipe out the past. Handler Neil (Robert Pattinson) along with the Protagonist trace the bullets to arms dealer, Priya Singh (Dimple Kapadia) in Mumbai. He discovers she is a member of Tenet, her cartridges were purchased and inverted by Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). The Protagonist is led to Sator’s estranged wife Katherine “Kat” Barton (Elizabeth Debicki), an art appraiser, who is under Sator’s control. The two are then led to the Oslo Airport where they find a machine, defind as “turnstile”, and fend off two masked men. Priya explains the turnstile can invert the entropy of objects and people, and the masked men were the same person.

I must confess, Tenet is somewhat complicated as we’re dealing with the past and present at the same time.  Nolan took five years to write the screenplay. Many scenes are moving forward and backward at the same time, which is confusing in itself.  The Protagonist, Sator, Neil, and Kat are both in the present and past all at once but must never really encounter their old or future self. I agree this is a lot to digest but you will probably understand it better while watching the movie.  The story is quite long and has many twists and turns, including a surprise ending.  I’ve given you all you need to make a decision as to whether or not you want to really get into Tenet.  The film is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes long.  Aside from the length and confusion, the acting is brilliant and the photography, which lasted over a three month period, was shot in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is breathtaking.  I can’t recommend Tenet as a “must-see” movie but I can say you probably won’t turn it off.  It is fascinating to see how they master filming the past and the present and inverted bullets passing in and out of bodies. Tenet grossed $362 million worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2020. Tenet received generally favorable reviews from critics on Metacritic, with Rotten Tomatoes saying it had “all the cerebral spectacle audiences expect from a Christopher Nolan production.” Check It Out!


[TENET  is Oscar-nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best: Production Design, and Visual Effects — Totaling 2 Nominations]


3 responses to “TENET (2020) – My rating: 6.5/10

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