Watching ‘TENET’ For the Second Time

Okay, TENET is officially Christopher Nolan’s most mind-numbing film. I watched it for the second time yesterday and as I left my local movie theater with yet another headache there was a sense of glee considering that I was able to understand about 65% of the movie this time around. However, the film’s convoluted plot and brain-shattering sound still left crucial plot points vaguely comprehensible, leaving me still scratching my head and wondering just exactly what the heck just happened.

I honestly feel the exact same as I did last time, even with more information lodged in my brain. The Protagonist and Neil are still my favorite movie duo of all time, the movie is still a jaw-dropping spectacle that is worth the price of admission, but Nolan’s inflated genius for this one is ultimately what keeps it from being a legendary blockbuster.

His desire for something so original that it’s hard to understand leaves one exhausted and a bit deflated when one learns that the story wasn’t that deep in the first place. It’s your typical Mission: Impossible plotline (stop an evil Russian psychopath before he destroys the world with a nuclear bomb, hmm, that sounds like Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol) with a Bond setting: beautiful actors in beautiful locations on the big screen.

Early in the movie a scientist who studies inverted materials like bullets and other weapons of that nature teaches The Protagonist how to catch bullets instead of shooting them. As she explains how it all works even she tells us, the audience who is trying to understand things through The Protagonist’s eyes, “don’t try to understand this.” WHAT?! That’s not how movies work.

Movies are supposed to be somewhat easy to follow. And yet Christopher Nolan has forgotten this one glorious rule that makes a movie great. If you can’t understand what’s happening yeah, the movie looks impressive as characters fight one another backward and a massive war-level assault plays out forward and backward with bombs inverting and what-not, but my head is starting to ache just thinking about how insane this film is.

In a way, I liked the film more the second time but honestly, I’m pretty much sticking to my first-time rating of this latest Nolan flick. Last time I gave it 90 out of 100 and 4 out of 5 out stars. I’m remaining at 4 out of 5 stars but I’ll move my other ranking to 93 out of 100. It’s still A- material but at least it’s not on the cusp of B+.

My sister and I will probably go see it at least one more time and after a third viewing I’ll see where my heart lies with this film.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a beautiful day.

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