Director: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: December 15, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel. Inversion.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan; the mind-warping new thriller ‘Tenet’ accompanies our Protagonist (Washington) as he is forced to save the world from a threat he has yet to fully understand. Armed merely with a gesture and one word, “Tenet”, he must journey across the globe in a race to uncover a dangerous threat that could spell the end of the world as we know it. Tracking seemingly ordinary objects that have been mysteriously inverted to travel backwards in time as we know it, he soon finds everything connecting to a deadly individual who he must earn the trust of, but one false move could just as easily ruin everything. Now, our protagonist must figure out what precisely the threat at hand is and stop it before time runs out.
Written and directed by the immensely talented Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy, Dunkirk) who does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘Tenet’ guiding along his own intricate screenplay and delivering a wildly complex and breathtaking ride throughout that may take at least an additional viewing or two to fully appreciate. The film also benefits from a talented cast that includes John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse), Elizabeth Debicki (Widows), Dimple Kapadia (Fugly), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Savages), Michael Caine (Inception) and Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk) along with more, nearly all offering solid, if not noteworthy performances for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Tenet’ is a tense, action-packed and mind-twisting ride that’s loaded with twists, turns and stunning visuals every step of the way, all backed up by a complex screenplay that will keep you guessing (and possibly require an additional viewing or two to fully understand and appreciate) while never becoming dull or uninteresting for a moment throughout its 150 minute runtime which just seems to fly right by. I’m not sure I would say it’s the best film of the year, but it’s almost surely my favorite and an absolute joy to try and decipher. With an expansive collection of settings traversing the globe and no shortage of talented stars to carry it along, ‘Tenet’ is something incredibly special and a film that I can easily myself repeatedly revisiting in the foreseeable future.
One thing that’s for certain is that ‘Tenet’ is a film that largely benefits from multiple viewings; after watching it for the first time upon receiving my review copy it almost felt necessary to watch the film one more time before writing up my review and the second time around was even better. Numerous little tidbits that you wouldn’t have known to look for during an initial viewing immediately pop out and following the events through a second time with more perspective on everything does wonders in helping to piece it all together. It’s definitely a complicated film, but in this age of frequent remakes, reboots and just so little original content, it’s quite marvelous to see filmmakers like Christopher Nolan that go out of their way to create original films with so many layers and intricate levels within. Some may find it too complex to follow and others may have other issues, but I personally loved every minute of ‘Tenet’ and it’s safe to say that it’s my favorite film of the year. I can’t encourage everyone strongly enough to go out of your way to check out ‘Tenet’ at your earliest convenience.
Overall, ‘Tenet’ is a wildly entertaining and complex spy thriller on a level like we’ve never seen. It balances a general love of spy films with intricate twists and turns that will keep you glued to the screen for its entirety without ever becoming the slightest bit bored or uninterested. ‘Tenet’ easily earns one of my highest possible recommendations. It’s another magnificent and enthralling piece of cinema from master filmmaker Christopher Nolan that may require a couple viewings to fully understand and appreciate, but actually offers moviegoers something unique and original that requires us to think along the way. Anyone who appreciates a unique and/or complex film with plenty of breathtaking action throughout won’t even want to consider skipping ‘Tenet’. For those who may be understandably hesitant to drop the money on a blind purchase before seeing the film, it should certainly be worthy of a rental at the absolute least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Tenet’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with a variable Aspect Ratio that alters between a 2.20:1 Aspect Ratio and a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio for the IMAX sequences. The video presentation looks flawless and delivers a beautifully rich, clean and detailed presentation from start to finish with no noticeable faults or problems whatsoever to be uncovered along the way. It holds up perfectly even during the numerous fast moving, darkly lit and heavily populated sequences throughout, never for a moment allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a phenomenal high definition video presentation from Warner Bros. that should downright thrill fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack offers a clean, crisp and wildly hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, action and vehicle effects, along with nature elements, bits of dialogue and a great deal more consistently zipping throughout the various speakers, while always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and full audible. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds marvelous throughout and perfectly complements the onscreen fun and tension.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Tenet’ includes some in-depth extras that explore the process of bringing the film to life. The entirety of the bonus content is included on its own dedicated ‘Special Features’ Blu-ray disc. Included on the release is the multi-part Behind The Scenes Documentary ‘Looking At The World In A New Way: The Making of Tenet’ (running approximately 75 minutes altogether) which explores in detail all of the aspects required in bringing the film to life, featuring tons of behind the scenes footage, interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus more. The Documentary can also be viewed by chapters which are broken down as follows (and feature the same content as the Documentary, just broken up into individual chapters): ‘The Principle of Belief’ (running approximately 4 minutes), ‘Mobilizing the Troupe’ (approximately 6 minutes), ‘The Approach’ (5 minutes), ‘The Proving Window’ (5 minutes), ‘The Roadmap’ (5 minutes), ‘Entropy in Action’ (11 minutes), ‘Traversing the Globe’ (12 minutes), ‘How Big A Plane?’ (5 minutes), ‘The Dress Code’ (4 minutes), ‘Constructing the Twilight World’ (5 minutes), ‘The Final Battle’ (4 minutes), ‘Cohesion’ (5 minutes) and ‘Doesn’t Us Being Here Now Mean it Never Happened?’ (4 minutes). ‘4 Trailers’ for the film (running approximately 10 minutes combined) are also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Syncopy & Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
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