TENET Spoiler Discussion (open spoilers duh)

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insomniak08

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So I just got back from seeing Tenet and I wanted to open a discussion up for those who have seen it.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. It is not my favourite Nolan movie (though I have not seen everything he has done and honestly like his Batman stuff the best out of what I have seen) but it was definitely solid. It seems closest to Inception as far as his films go but that was what I was expecting.

Early on with the time stuff I was kind of put off and thought Nolan was just being complex/confusing just for the sake of it (it is what I felt about Inception when that came out) but by the end I thought he actually did a really good job at justifying everything and I actually think I am going to see it again just because I think I would pick up more on a second viewing.

The backwards fighting and action is technically impressive and I would love to see some behind the scenes stuff about how it was done but it also looks goofy as hell a lot of the time and took me out of the movie at first until I got used to it. Similarly a lot of the time jargon just sounds like silly nonsense even though it is pretty easy to follow. Like almost no one ever seems surprised by the fact that time flows in reverse and they just kind of accept it with almost no questions.

The cast is great. Robert Pattinson continues to show that he is one of the best young actors working in Hollywood right now. This is not his greatest performance but he is really engaging to watch and I just want more of him always.

I saw this movie in IMAX and it was definitely worth it. The film looked amazing and sounded really good. The dialogue was a bit low in the mix which made it hard to discern during certain scenes, mostly when an effect was applied to it (there are multiple scenes where dialogue is delivered via mic/recorder that I sometimes struggled to make out).

If you want a dumb action movie with a little bit more complex of a plot than most and some really unique effects then I would highly recommend this film. If you are looking for your mind to be blown then why are you watching a Christopher Nolan film? (lol jk but seriously some people drastically overstate how "smart" his movies are). All of these impressions are based off a single viewing in probably the best environment possible so I am probably overrating it a little as of now but I will have to wait for future viewings to see if that holds true.

4/5 ****

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ItHas2BeSaidKVO

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Initial impressions having seen it last week (will just give the TL;DR version as I'm not in the right mind to give a deep dive):

-Visually, goddamn what a movie. I'm definitely going to make an effort to see it again in VMAX (my local cinema's equivalent of IMAX's big screen, big audio setup).

-Plot wise, I feel it's a little unfair to judge at this moment simply because I do agree with you that it was hard at times to hear them explain something about the universe and how the inversion stuff worked when the soundtrack was loud to the point of being distracting. I might need to wait until I am able to see it with subtitles to see whether the movie's lore was consistent or whether there are any obvious plot holes.

-Acting wise, everyone will pretty good, although Kenneth Branagh playing a Russian arms dealer is what it is I guess.

Overall: 3-3.5/5, maybe will go to a 4 if, upon further viewings, I am satisfied that the plot and lore makes sense and is consistent.

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north6

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Holy shit a real fucking movie came out. An actual movie not made by Blumhouse.

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Humanity

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I just got back from it and overall I’m sort of mixed on it. Inception is one of my favorite movies because it’s explained at a reasonable pace and I felt like by the end I had a fairly firm grasp on how things worked which made the ending so incredibly satisfying. I’m surprised to have read above that this is just a dumb action flick with a time twist as I found parts of it incredibly confusing - this in part because I also couldn’t hear some of the explanations of who and when and why. They also throw quite a few names around in the first act that makes it hard to follow, or at least for me it was.

There is definitely a domino effect similar to Inception happening throughout the film but I dont think it’s quite as elegant. There are moments where the time flips and duality of it all really pay off and others where I was left scratching my head as to how the timeline actually works. The final act with the big assault on the empty city felt kind of like a mess and an excuse to have a big action set piece. It’s definitely a movie for repeat viewings.

Part of the problem I think is that the acting is a little uneven. Pattinson is great but Washington as the leading man feels a bit stiff and charmless compared to DiCaprio in Inception. Elizabeth Debicki does a wonderful job while the main villain seems like a caricature of the big bad middle eastern mob boss.

Overall technically very impressive but not as cohesive or enjoyable to watch as his other films. Tenet is like the math-rock of films - complex but not always in a fun way.

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Quipido

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I saw it twice, it’s very good, but definetely lacks the depth of Inception or Interstellar. Both of those movies have a strong arch that changes the main character. In Tenet, The Protagonist is basically perfect, unbestable from the very start - he only gets fucked when double crossed, but even then doesn’t hesitate and tries to kill himself for others. During the śrest of the movie nothing really changes for him, he takes more risks to save others and continues to be a good fighter. That’s it. There is no emotional plot really, maybe Kat’s, but that’s more on the sidelines of the main plot. It’s a fantastic watch, the second viewing was even more awesome ride, but I wish he made it an hour longer and put some kind of actual struggle for our hero.

That being said, watching the fight scene where he fights himself, watching that forward and then backwards was simply awesome. The realisation halfway through the movie that we are about to watch what we just saw, backwards, was just insane.

4/5*

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Humanity

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@quipido: When they blow up the same building forward and reverse at the same time was also pretty neat.

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plan6

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I just watched Inception recently and I think that movie is so good for reasons beyond Nolans directing. The acting in that film is extremely good, right down to the small moments. It is also filled with this fascination with something we all experience, the Dream. Each character is super into different aspects of the dream and brings that joy to the heist, which is carried by the actors. It makes the really dry exposition enjoyable and something to look forward to. On top of that it is a heist movie, which are always a fun.

I am looking forward to Tenet, but only when I can watch it safely in my house. But a lot of the reviews are confirming my main concern, that the lack of the "team" of characters leaves the movie a bit dry.

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Nodima

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Man, if working in bars and restaurants is a weird experience right now I can't even imagine what theater workers are going through. AMC is not taking this shit lightly though. Granted again there were literally no other movies playing in a 14 cinema multiplex and literally no one else had a ticket to see this thing, but they still had the ticket counter and concessions set up with barricades as if it was a Star Wars or Marvel premiere night.

So you wind your way through this long maze while one person stands at the concession counter to check your ticket and they ask you to sanitize your phone, hand it to them, sanitize your hands, they re-sanitize your phone after confirming the ticket, strongly imply they'd like you to re-sanitize your hands after taking back your phone, let you know where the bathrooms are rather than where your theater is located and don't ask if you'd like anything to eat or drink.

Again, as somebody who lives in one of the least affected states this summer and has really only been out to work at my restaurant or be on the patio at the bar across the street but otherwise orders everything delivery, it was wild stepping into a national, corporate building for the first time since the pandemic. It almost scared me away, which I guess is the point, right?

Anyway, Tenet. Is this supposed to be Nolan's new trilogy? This whole thing felt like a prologue, or like it was making fun of the enterprise of blockbuster filmmaking or something. Looked great, John David Washington is officially a star, but I gotta say this movie lacked some kind of...oomph. At the start of every big action scene I was on the edge of my seat, but by their conclusion I honestly felt kind of dull. Going in I was worried that the movie's big gimmick was going to be too tremendous for the movie to be able to take advantage of it as much as I wanted or keep it making sense and I think my hunch was right. Edit: that being said, when the pivot hits at the mid-point mark, this thing fucking does not let up on the NOS injection for a solid 45 minutes and it no longer matters that you don't know any of the characters' names or care about their motivations for being in this plot or what their role is in this story. Nolan gets to do his whiz-bang setpiece thing and nails it.

Thing I Loved: Re-witnessing the freeport heist from the perspective of the future. If you were unaware of or forgot that JDW was a Division I collegiate wide receiver you'll be reminded throughout this as his raw athleticism is just out of control compared to most modern American action stars. It feels desperate.

Thing I Hated: A lot of that desperation felt like it was because Protagonist had a crush on Kat? This character is pretty lacking in emotional weight and I feel like Nolan desperately tried to infuse him with some kind of personal motivation outside of "the job" and it felt like the most hackneyed vision of a romantic subplot he's yet delivered, and this is a guy who has Rachel from Batman on his resumé.

Ultimately, it's hard to say how much the scenario surrounding the movie affected my kind of numb reaction to how these set pieces ultimately resolved themselves (particularly the final heist sequence in the town which just couldn't convince me of its logic), but goddamn did it feel baseline pleasant to walk out of the theater and look around at the world in that dreamlike state where you're suddenly imagining how you'd film the location if it were in the movie you just saw, and to be in a huge room with a massive screen and awesome sound system completely glued to the movie rather than constantly checking OKP, Facebook or Reddit and forgetting what's going on. Watching movies at home kinda sucks, man.

But is it worth going to a theater to see Tenet? Not at all, other than how great it looked and sounded and the specifics of my experience in that I only saw and interacted with a single person during my three hours in that building which is a far cry from my own workplace. For what it's worth, I didn't think the movie had any sound issues at all other than when it was appropriate, and anyway almost all of the dialogue was expositional so it wasn't terribly interesting anyway. Other than the potential for a Tenet 2 and Nolan shoehorning a Black James Bond into our lives who also has the ability to travel through time, kind-of sort-of. If it sounds like I'm not all in on Nolan, JDW and Pattinson getting another shot at this I apologize because if things only get bigger from here (presuming Warners would be able to afford a movie like this on the other side of COVID) I'll keep on turning my brain off and watching Nolan do Nolan without the burden of having to care about its characters at all other than the superficial way we do Bond and his Bond Girls.

I probably won't go back to a theater the rest of the year.

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Blommer4

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@nodima: I am really not seeing where there's potential for a Tenet 2, as I thought this movie tied itself up really neatly towards the end. We know what's next for the protagonist, are you suggesting we might get a movie showing how he founded Tenet and so on? I am quite curious what you mean, so please elaborate if you would be so kind.