Home Entertainment Tenet Review Round-up – Christopher Nolan’s ambitious film receives mixed responses

Tenet Review Round-up – Christopher Nolan’s ambitious film receives mixed responses

4 min read

Cinemas are re-opening this weekend in South Africa, which likely doesn’t mean much for those of us who are not prepared to risk going outside for a theatrical fix. If you ever were going to risk your wellbeing for a movie, then Tenet might just be the film that would make you take a gamble on your health.

Few filmmakers have enthralled audiences as consistently as director Christopher Nolan, whose combination of cerebrally challenging, mind-bending stories, wonderfully complex characters, and ambitiously realistic action sequences have made his movies must-watch experiences at the theatre.

The film has already been screened to some reviewers globally, and so we can at least share each other’s pain by reading what they have to say about the movie, below:

Leslie Felperin, THR

Altogether, it makes for a chilly, cerebral film — easy to admire, especially since it’s so rich in audacity and originality, but almost impossible to love, lacking as it is in a certain humanity.

Jessica Kiang, The New York Times

Seek it out, if only to marvel at the entertainingly inane glory of what we once had and are in danger of never having again. Well, that and the suits.

Mike McCahill, IndieWire

What’s really there to untangle, beyond loops of string and a whole lot of smoke rings? Anyone ready to obsess over a doodad on a backpack as they did over the spinning top of “Inception” can cling to the illusion of Nolan as the movie messiah. On this evidence, though, he’s become a very trying, ungenerous, ever-so-slightly dull boy.

Guy Lodge, Variety

“Tenet” is no holy grail, but for all its stern, solemn posing, it’s dizzy, expensive, bang-up entertainment of both the old and new school.

Nicholas Barber, The Wrap

The plotting is muddled rather than complex, with less to say about the flow of time than “Interstellar” or “Memento.” In the end, “Tenet” isn’t one of Nolan’s most satisfying films. But after I’ve seen it four or five more times, maybe I’ll change my mind.

Jordan Farley, Total Film

Certainly, Tenet’s a more challenging film than some may be comfortable with after a five-month absence, but this is an all-too-rare example of a master filmmaker putting everything on the table with, you sense, not a modicum of his vision compromised. The stakes have never been higher, but Tenet is exactly the film cinemas need right now.

Jonathan Romney, Los Angeles Times

Nolan’s latest may well be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, or it may signify something imponderably resonant, and signify it forward, backward and inside out. Does your head hurt yet?

Catherine Shoard, The Guardian

Tenet is not a movie it’s worth the nervous braving a trip to the big screen to see, no matter how safe it is. I’m not even sure that, in five years’ time, it’d be worth staying up to catch on telly.

Shannon Connellan, Mashable

Like its title, Tenet is a cinematic palindrome, moving backwards and forwards in a multitude of ways. As novel an idea as this is, the film essentially follows the conventions of a classic spy thriller. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but spices it up with time manipulation.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is just how divided the reviews for Tenet are. Nolan’s ambition appears to have either excited critics or frustrated them. It does concern me, given the almost universal praise people typically have for Nolan’s films, although I do agree with some of the critics that when you have been starved of watching a blockbuster for several months, watching one which may give you a headache from everything that is going on, may not be an experience suitable for everyone.

This hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for the film one bit, given how much of a Nolan fan I am.

Last Updated: August 24, 2020

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