On the masterwork of Tenet

Christopher Nolan is unarguably one of the most talented filmmakers working today. I’ve loved his work since we saw Memento in a tiny little theater on a whim, and walked out with a different view of what a film could be. His work is smart, it’s challenging, and it’s gripping and engaging. Tenet seems to have received a mixed reception. I don’t think it’s my favorite of his movies, but it is certainly my favoritely crafted. It’s not very easy to follow the actual story, but it dives headfirst into creating a mood. Again, it’s unlike any other film I’ve ever seen, with multiple layers of meta structure. There were a lot of complaints about how the dialogue is inaudible over the blaring soundtrack, but I found that everything that was important for the viewer to know came through clearly enough, and the sound design itself was amazingly immersive and worked as a powerful element of the film’s environment. The action scenes were fresh and intense, the humor is tight and subtly delivered, and the storytelling aims high and almost entirely hits its target.

If you haven’t seen it, my recommendation is to watch it once, think about it for a little while, and then watch it again. Then come back here and enjoy these videos and articles:

A visual breakdown of the car chase scene:

A visual breakdown of the final attack scene:

This is the (real life) historical key to the entire movie, which fundamentally is just a huge pretentious pun:


And some more background on this.

I like this video essay about the craft of the film:

And this may answer some of your lingering questions:

I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I do.