Tenet: Time traveling gunfights

Time-bending action and confusing science fiction


Melinda Sue Gordon

Protagonist and Neil are pictured above.

Gabe Guida, Staff Writer

The film Tenet was released in theaters in America on Sept. 3, 2020. Despite covid restrictions slashing theaters capacities, the movie still did very well in the box office, grossing over 359 million dollars.  Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film is everything one would expect from him: confusing, bold, action-packed, and very loud.

The film follows a nameless secret agent, who will be referred to as “Protagonist”, who has been tasked with preventing World War III.  Protagonist utilizes a time machine device to aid him in his battles, but the trick is when he goes back in time, everything else moves backward.

This concept is incredibly confusing, and the movie requires someone’s undivided attention for every minute of screen time if they want to be able to grasp what’s happening.  That is one of Tenet’s main flaws. There is so much constantly happening in the film, it’s admittedly difficult to keep up.

The sci-fi time-traveling aspect does make the action scenes absolutely beautiful. The viewer is treated to some amazing imagery of soldiers, bullets, and explosions moving backward while the rest of the battle unfolds around them in real-time. The technical side alone is enough to win the film a few academy awards. It’s the kind of creative, forward-thinking that the action genre needs. Nolan never fails to deliver.

The color palette is mostly grays, whites, and blacks, but it fits the movie very well. The film takes place in many different countries in many different locations, so there’s never a boring moment.

“I thought the locations were neat,” said Karen Defino 21′. “It made it fun to watch.”

Unfortunately, none of the characters are very standout. The acting is good enough, with impressive performances from Robert Pattinson as Neil and John David Washington as Protagonist;  however, the characters themselves are boring and shallow, making it hard to truly appreciate their sacrifices and struggles. This doesn’t detract from the movie all that much, but the occasional corny one-liner can really ruin the atmosphere of a scene.

Action scenes in Tenet sound something like a commercial airliner flying right by one’s head; they are loud. A staple of Nolan’s films is the audio being mixed ridiculously loud, and Tenet absolutely follows suit.  

Overall, if anyone likes sci-fi or action, Tenet should be somewhere on their watchlist. With innovative concepts and gripping action scenes, it’s a fun watch. Let us know how you felt about Tenet in the comments!