Christopher Nolan brings us into a confusing world with spectacular scenes, powerful action and shades of Nolan’s Memento and Inception filled with back in time action reflected by the title Tenet which can be spelled the same way back and forth.
It all begins with a spectacular introduction action scene the first of many that are framed to effectively fit the situations in the script. The film only stumbles in the last half hour in which the climax and solution to the Tenet problem are presented in more time than necessary.
The premise is the idea that a new destructive weapon is under control of a very dark villain played effectively by Kenneth Branagh.
All the action and interplay between the characters are set on the tapestry of the Tenet weapon which has the power to destroy the entire Earth. It’s explained as being similar to the original man made nuclear reaction (the beginning of atomic bombs) that scientists thought could begin a chain reaction that would turn the Earth into a nuclear reaction ball like the Sun.
John David Washington plays the lead showing little emotion, he just does his job, but Elizabeth Debicki impresses him as she fights the evil Branagh to gain control of her son from their union. Debicki is wonderfully effective as the tall slender model like character that contrasts well with Washington and Robert Pattinson. Her long slender legs come to her aid when she is tied down in a run-a-way car. In some ways she is the human focus of the script.
The back in time theme is supported by visuals of sea ports, interesting views of cities from the air, beaches and ports where the action takes place.
The visual effects that fill the screen are nicely part of the plot especially when we see a Mercedes driving backward on a highway at the same speed as a Chevrolet going forward. Over time it makes sense in the Tenet script.
It’s necessary to pay close attention to both the dialogue and the screen images to follow the twist of back in time but it’s an exciting adventure.