Tenet, Dune Trailer, and More!


Hawk: In the “Before Times,” aka pre-COVID, I would go to the movies at least twice a week. So in the last few months, I’ve really been missing it, to the point of feeling like a tangible piece of my actual self is lacking. I’ve been excited for Tenet since it first got announced, and that excitement has just been building with each successive trailer. I finally made the decision to go see in AMC’s Dolby theater—my favorite format featuring a crisper screen, vertical rows of speakers on the wall, and subwoofers in the seats. And boy, did I forget what a Christopher Nolan action movie in Dolby felt like. The gunshots, explosions, and soundtrack rattled my skull and almost (I believe) blew out some speakers. It was awesome. (And, it’s worth noting, the theater was very socially distanced with everyone wearing masks and sanitizer everywhere, which was reassuring.)

The movie follows The Protagonist (John David Washington) joining an organization focused on arms dealer Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). Sator has been communicating with someone in the future, in which someone has invented a way to “invert” time, causing objects to move backwards in the present space. As the present and the future race towards each other, humanity stands on the edge of annihilation. This narrative hook contributes to some incredibly inventive and thrilling set pieces: The Protagonist learns early on that to interact with inverted objects, he has to act as if he has initiated the action causing the object’s initial trajectory: for example, he can cause a bullet to leap into his hand from a table, but only by moving his hand in such a way that he had just dropped it…but in reverse. The movie does a pretty good job of explaining this, and actually makes you feel pretty smart for understanding its internal logic.

And then the third act hits, and Nolan dials the time inversion concept up to 11, replaying past sequences from different inverted perspectives to the point that you need to whip out a notepad to keep track of everything. Apparently it took 15 years for Nolan to actually perfect the logic of Tenet, and it shows. When the movie reaches a crescendo of two military teams, one inverted and one moving forward, converging on the same target, it’s almost a matter of just sitting back and enjoying the spectacle. Early in the film, a character tells The Protagonist, “Don’t try to understand it,” and by the finale it feels like Nolan speaking directly to his audience. It’s certainly a lot to wrap one’s head around, and I’m still buzzing seven hours later trying to unravel the logic of the movie’s science.

My expectations were maybe a bit too high for Tenet to ever reach, but I can’t deny that I really enjoyed it and was pleased for it to be my inaugural return to the cinema. Christopher Nolan is a card-carrying insane SOB, and we’ve all known this for a while. Remember in The Dark Knight Rises, the opening scene featured Bane tearing a plane apart and crashing it? That wasn’t CGI, Nolan straight-up crashed a plane. Furthermore, in Tenet, the characters run a passenger plane into a hangar, and Nolan chose to actually slam a fricking plane into a hanger because he didn’t want to deal with CGI. He’s an absolute madman, and only someone like Nolan could have delivered Tenet. The movie is huge and loud, and has some of the most impressive set pieces I’ve seen in a film in years. I’m very interested in how movies are made, and usually able to generally surmise how certain effects are achieved, but Tenet honestly baffled me with how Nolan accomplished some of the insane shots of time linearity and inversion occurring simultaneously in the frame, and some genuinely inventive and bombastic setpieces. I had almost forgotten how much I loved the theater experience while watching Tenet, and for the entire 2.5 hours I had a massive nerdy grin underneath my face mask.

Those are our recommendations this week! What are yours? Let us know in the comments!

Written by TV Obsessive

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