In each of his films, Christopher Nolan challenges audience expectations and pushes the potential of cinema to the next level. He did this in 2010 with Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception when he travelled into the human subconscious to carry out the dangerous art of inception before travelling through space and time in Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey. In preparation for this film, he consulted with scientist Kip Thorne on the theory of general relativity which guided Nolan through the physics that was central to the film. However, this year Nolan transcended anything he had ever done before by creating a new thrilling cinematic experience with his brainchild Tenet, which is perhaps his most ambitious project to date and a film that John David Washington has stated will shape “the next ten to fifteen years of filmmaking”.
In true Christopher Nolan fashion Tenet tests the boundaries of what a film can do as it tackles the subject of inversion (objects and people moving backwards through time) all the while working within the spy genre to prevent the end of the world; think James Bond with a sci-fi twist. Undeniably Nolan creates an intricate plot which at times forces his audience to grapple with the scientific possibilities of inversion but ultimately works to cement Tenet as one of the writer/director’s finest films to date. It could even be speculated that Tenet will place Nolan once again in the Oscars race. The director has commented that the central idea for Tenet has been in his mind for almost twenty years, going as far back as Memento. Yet it seems his latest film has come at an opportune moment, revitalising the film industry as a whole as it goes beyond anything a film or director has ever done before, namely crashing a real 747 plane into a hangar. Nolan has always been opposed to using a green screen, striving instead for authenticity in his films.
For this daring film, Nolan teamed up with John David Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki for the perfect on-screen trio to create a storyline that intertwines past, present and future, bringing together old friends and new. This year, the film’s score was not composed by Hans Zimmer - the director’s previously go-to collaborator - but was instead composed by Ludwig Goransson who has previously bestowed his talent to the Marvel Universe, composing the score for Black Panther, which earned him an Academy Award. Goransson’s score matches the tone of the film perfectly. The same must be said for Travis Scott’s single, The Plan, included on the soundtrack, which captures the essence of Tenet, elevating the atmosphere of Tenet above anything the audience could have ever hoped for.
It is clear that Tenet is the perfect film for audiences in the Covid-19 era, giving them something fresh and exciting to sink their teeth into. It provides an unexpected sense of escapism from this strange new world that, much like Tenet, we wish we could reverse.
This review was written by Upper Sixth student Eloise Pratt for The Student Newspaper