‘Tenet’ lives up to hype of its adventure

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Now that movie theaters have been allowed to re-open in Central New York, I finally got the chance to watch “Tenet”, the blockbuster that was supposed to save movie theaters but has instead already faded into obscurity.

Cinema Capitol on West Dominick Street had limited showings of the latest Christopher Nolan show-stopper this past week and I managed to snag a viewing. “Tenet” lived up to both the hype of its adventure and the promise that it would be a really weird movie. It was definitely worth the wait from its original early September release date.

The wait won’t be too long for regular audiences to view the film because it will be coming to DVD and home release in December. Definitely pick it up if you can.

The movie is about an unnamed main character who stumbles into a big secret: technology will exist in the future that can reverse the flow of time for people and inanimate objects. So guns and cars and soldiers look like they’re moving in reverse. And some bad guys in the future have started sending this technology backwards in time to a bad guy in the present day who is going to use it to wipe out all of existence. It’s up to our hero and his allies to master time-reversal and save the world.

So yeah, “Tenet” is a weird movie. And it’s too weird to be really great. But it’s still good enough to be an enjoyable action movie, as long as you can wrap your head a little ways around this time-
reversal thing.

There’s no easy way to explain it. I don’t think the movie does a very good job of explaining it. Especially not when the whole process keeps getting more and more complicated, with more and more people involved. And this takes away from the overall enjoyment of the movie.

It also doesn’t help that the characters in the film are not very well defined either. The main character, played by John David Washington, is known only as the “Protagonist”. But who does he work for? And what is “Tenet” in the context of the film? I think it’s the name of the secret organization working to stop the bad guys, but I don’t really know. For his part, Washington does a fine job guiding the audience through the film.

All of this weirdness does not completely hinder an otherwise cool action movie. Director Christopher Nolan is known for his big spectacle, and he does it again with “Tenet”. There are cool car chases, cool shootouts, a big military operation, a plane crash filmed with a real plane — “Tenet” is full of spectacle, all of which is made just a little bit cooler because some things and people are moving in reverse.

It’s a neat gimmick, if you can understand it. But even if you can only understand it a little bit, “Tenet” is still an enjoyable action movie. Though I’m not surprised it didn’t single-handedly save Hollywood from the coronavirus.

One last thing to note, due to a projector malfunction and low pandemic turnout at Cinema Capitol, I got to watch “Tenet” all by myself in the historic Capitol Theater. That was pretty neat.

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