BENDING TIME: Robbert Pattinson (left) and John David Washington in Christopher Nolan’s impressive Tenet.

Film review: Tenet (12A)

Of the many creature comforts we’ve had to give up during the coronavirus pandemic, not visiting the cinema has to be among the biggest misses.

In a time when we’ve desperately needed escapism, losing yourself in a new and different world would have been just the ticket for many.

With that in mind, what better way to signal the return of the big screen than with a mind-bending offering from one of Hollywood’s most celebrated directors?

With the likes of Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk and the Dark Knight trilogy on his CV, Christopher Nolan is well known for creating masterpieces.

And, while this doesn’t quite reach those heights with Tenet, it’s another incredibly enjoyable and very ambitious production.

Starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and (of course) Michael Caine, Tenet is also loaded with talent on-screen.

The premise is, as ever with Nolan, quite tricky to understand. But to simplify, Washington’s nameless character must discover a way to manipulate the flow of time in order to foil a plot to end all of time (if you’ve played the underrated Quantum Break on the Xbox One, it’s a similar idea to that).

We learn the ways of this wizardry through Washington, who is thrown into the secret war with the future after the repercussions of a breathless opening sequence in a Russian opera house.

Tenet doesn’t waste time over-developing its characters and doesn’t rely on its numerous spectacular action sequences to ramp up your adrenaline.

It’s just a white-knuckle ride that you may struggle to fully comprehend on first viewing. But, boy, is the trip an enjoyable one.

Without wishing to ruin any of its many surprises, the stand-out moments often include sequences where the characters become ‘inverted’ – which means they are essentially operating in reverse.

One fight sequence involving Washington mid-vault heist is particularly memorable in this regard.

All of the cast here are on strong form, too. Washington is excellent as the lead and enjoys strong chemistry with an on-song Pattinson, who is a character that always feels one step ahead.

Likewise, the ever-impressive Debicki shines in a smaller role alongside a very hammy Branagh, who enjoys chewing his way through each scene.

It may not feel quite as unique as Inception, as ambitious as Interstellar or as nerve-wracking as Dunkirk, but Tenet is another impressive Nolan film.

It is, however, just a little shy of achieving this greatness of his other work.

Voice Verdict: 8.5/10
+ Breathless and complex plot
+ Strong cast all on good form
+ Inverted sequences are fun
+ Trademark Nolan

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