There is no doubting that things are different this year at Messiah. The future of Messiah’s Lost Films run by SAB is currently unknown. While it is unlikely that indoor movies will be shown this semester, the possibility still remains for outdoor films to be shown. That being said, there is no reason that we still cannot review some of the movies that are trickling back into theatres. 


Certainly, the most notable film hitting the theatres during the pandemic is Christopher Nolan’s latest movie, Tenet. Tenet is Nolan’s latest mind-bending stand-alone film that stars John David Washington as a character simply referred to as The Protagonist, and Robert Pattinson as his partner Neil. 


The film centers around the complex idea of inverted time. Essentially, the plot of the film is driven by the fact that sometime in the future has figured out how to reverse time and space. This allows for people to travel back in time and ‘invert’ objects. 


This inversion is central to fully understanding the film. Essentially, when a person is inverted, he or she is able to manipulate objects. For example, if a bullet is fired into a wall, an inverted person is able to have it shoot back into their gun. 


With me so far? Good. It gets more confusing. The film’s central character, The Protagonist, is given a mission to prevent the world from entering WWIII. What we know as an audience is that the film’s villain, Andrei (Kenneth Branagh) is somehow able to communicate with the future and has the abilities to invert himself into the past. 


With the help of Andrei’s estranged wife Kat, played by Elizabeth Debicki, The Protagonist and Neil are sent to interfere with Andrei and stop WWIII before it ever even happens. 


In theory, the film really should work. A sci-fi/crime thriller directed by a renowned director such as Nolan sounds like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, save a few key performances from the cast, the plot seems too jumbled to truly follow. 


While the audience knows the stakes are certainly high, it is almost impossible to understand what exactly is going on for a majority of the movie. The idea of inversion is explained in a rather rushed way in the movie’s first 30 minutes. This leaves the audience struggling to catch up with the film’s most basic concept. On top of this, the performances of Debicki, Branagh and Pattinson leave a bit to be desired.


The film certainly is not without its bright spots. John David Washington does a fantastic job with his role and fleshes out the story as best as he can. On top of this, the filmmaking, while sometimes masked by a convoluted plot, is spectacular. Nolan once again creates beautiful landscapes and action-packed fight sequences that really pay off well and serve as the best part of the film. 


Ultimately, Tenet feels like an incomplete film. While the runtime already clocks in at around two and a half hours, it seems as though more needs to be said. It would not shock me to learn that the uncut version of the film is closer to four hours long. There is just too much going on to explain in one single film. 


Tenet gets 2.5 stars out of 5.