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Christopher Nolan is known to be one of the best in the work of movie-making. And Tenet 2020 left me shook. Right, from the very beginning till the very end. The movie’s title justifies the acts that are done in the movie to the highest resonance possible (I’ll talk about this towards the end of the review). I truly admire how Christopher Nolan directs his movies, be it Memento, Inception, or Tenet.
There is a scientist in the future who discovers a way to reverse the entropy of our entire world and realized that this can be used to destroy the world. She divided that into 9 parts (nine portion of set of rules) to be sent to the past for safekeeping and kills herself. At some point, a group of people TENET come into being whose job is not to let these parts fall into the hands of those who want to use it to kill the past (our present, their past). At different times, the protagonist, Priya, Neil, Wheeler, Ives, and many others are recruited and taught about the mission to keep this world alive. The rule is-no one who is aware of inverted entropy or turnstile might be left alive so they do not pass the secret to anyone else. At some point, an equally powerful group against TENET aims to find the 9 parts of the algorithm and use it to kill our world (our present, their past). They recruit people like Sator for their aim. So the whole movie is just a fight between these two groups who keep sending information and people in the past to kill or save our world.
Disclaimer: The review consists of spoilers from the movie. Caution Ahead!
One quick comparison that I could make is that the movie TENET is similar to DARK (The German Netflix series) as both are on the lines of time travel. However, we cannot generalize that both the series and the movie include the same aspect of time travel. Dark was all about time travel to the past and the future and destiny, however Tenet is more on the concept of time inversion. In my views, I felt that there may be too much amount of technicality involved in the script of the movie, and there is no time to digest and comprehend the technicality, especially if you are not aware of it beforehand (I needed to pause the film and google a few terms to understand them). I felt this is the only reason why the ratings had not kept up with the standards of Christopher Nolan’s movies, but honestly, I feel this movie is underrated. However, certain things like the Grandfather paradox theory, the time inversions were clearly portrayed with the help of dialogues and visuals, respectively.
Apart from the above, the other aspects of the movie were mind-blowing. The movie is connected from the beginning till the end, the plot of the movie, and the power-packed action and heists. It is just overwhelming.
Now coming to the title of the movie ‘Tenet’ in its conventional sense means a set of principles or the beliefs that one adheres to. I found the title very justified because there were some principles like ‘Ignorance is our Ammunition’ and ‘Standard operating procedures’ is witnessed throughout the movie, as Neil did not spill the beans about the other person whom he was chasing (turns out to be the protagonist who was apart of a future mission) to the protagonist (of present self). This truly justifies the title of the movie as they follow a principle. Had Neil told about the man he was chasing, probably things would have gone south.
Now let’s talk about some of the mind-blowing connections! This was where it all started when some person in disguise inverts the bullet and saves the protagonist’s life at the opera. It turns out to be that this person was none other than Neil himself. Even in the last part of the movie, it was seen that the person who took a bullet was the inverted self of Neil so that he could help the protagonist in unlocking the door. At last, Neil says that the protagonist was the one who hired him in the future to stop the doomsday and tells him that he will see the protagonist at the beginning. This makes it clear that the protagonist would basically hire Neil in the future, and it becomes clear that the protagonist meets Neil at the beginning (explained in the next paragraph)
But every time, Christopher Nolan’s movie ends with a big question mark. Even this movie ends with the same. Who is Neil? Well, to answer that logically, in the end, Neil stresses that he had known the protagonist for a very long time, so the possible character that fits into Neil’s character is Max, who is the son of Kat. The timeline of Neil and The Protagonist is in the opposite direction because as Neil said that he would meet the protagonist, in the beginning, the only person he meets is Max and Kat. So it becomes evident that Max is Neil, who was seen going to school and who would eventually pursue physics (as Neil mentioned earlier) and help the protagonist close the loose ends.
When Neil met the protagonist in Mumbai, he was able to order the drink for the protagonist. So, the beginning was in the future when the protagonist had hired him to help him close the loose ends, but the beginning is not at the scene where they actually met in Mumbai. While Kat mentioned that on the 14th day, Saton just disappeared into thin air unknowingly is not because of some mystery but because of the future operation where Kat had killed Saton.
To sum up, this movie was on the lines of ‘What happened had already happened,’ and it was just exhilarating to see the movie progressing into different stages with so much complexity. I highly recommend you guys watch it too!