‘Tenet’ has viewers captivatingly confused


As the director of “Inception,” “Interstellar,” and “Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan is known for his amazing visual effects, impossible to understand storylines, and confidence in film. All of these aspects are evident in his newest blockbuster film, “Tenet.”

After multiple date changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, “Tenet” finally hit theaters on Thursday, Sept. 3. The cinema industry took a major hit this year and the release of “Tenet” is the beginning of revitalizing the past. 

Starting with the plot, in all of Nolan’s movies, you don’t actually understand what’s happening until that one moment where everything comes together. That scene for “Tenet” was the greatest scene in the movie. All the action and plot twists were filmed well and my attention was hooked from the first scene in the movie.

It is all about time travel, so the film took multiple angles: the past, present, and future. In my opinion, only Christopher Nolan would be able to make that happen. “Tenet” was extremely captivating even though I didn’t know what was going on. 

One of the greatest aspects of this film was its cinematography. Filming took place in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each set added to the scenes’ importance, and the dynamic contrast between the plot and the set was astonishing. The cinematography was done by Hoyte van Hoytema, who has also been nominated for an Academy Award for his work on “Dunkirk.”

Alongside an incredible plot, the casting for this film was very well done. John David Washington, portraying the protagonist, used his athletic experience in the production of “Tenet.” As a former football player for the St. Louis Rams, Washington was able to use his past to play out intense action scenes.

“The training was a parent model,” Washington stated. “Nobody has ever thrown an inverted punch before.” Nolan agreed that Washington’s performance made the movie’s unique style possible. “If we hadn’t had a performer of such skill and energy, those things wouldn’t be possible to do on camera,” he said.

Now on to the visual effects. Christopher Nolan is known for his dislike for CGI. The filming of “Tenet” exaggerated this idea. For one scene, a Boeing 747 crashed through a building. Nolan being Nolan, he bought a real 747 plane and crashed it through a real building. His idea is to make the scenes look as real and genuine as possible. 

Nolan stated that “Tenet” had under 300 VFX shots.VFX shots are computer-generated images to manipulate what the viewer sees. Collider stated that his other films—“Batman Begins,” “Inception,” and the “Dark Knight Rises”—all had over 400 VFX shots.

Christopher Nolan got the inspiration for “Tenet” from Sator Square. The Sator Square is an ancient relic which states five Latin palindromes: Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, and Rotas. All of these words are used as names, keywords, or places in the film.

Although the film may take some time to fully understand, “Tenet” provides viewers with an intense and captivating two hours.