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Tenet  (DVD)


Stars: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Himesh Patel, Clemence Poesy, Fiona Dourif, Martin Donovan

Director: Christopher Nolan

Time-twisting action welded to the world of James Bond. While Tenet may lack heart and soul, it provides a feast for the eyes, supersonic action to satisfy the hungriest of today's fans and enough plot entanglements to frazzle the brain. The last couple of reels, especially, may leave you needing two or three more viewings (preferably on an IMAX screen) to get half-way towards working it all out. And the modern blockbuster's curse of difficult-to-hear dialogue doesn't help.

Though the action set-pieces here hardly drive the mind-boggling plot forward, they are breathtakingly well executed, especially a freeway, car-spinning chase.

The film opens on a spectacular set-piece - the destruction of an opera house, its performers and audience - and rarely lets up, at the same time centring on Nolan's obsession with things happening in reverse (cf his first mainstream film Memento), as bearded special agent The Protagonist (Washington, son of Denzel) and his quantum-minded sidekick (Pattinson) are engulfed in a globe-wide plot (the dizzying array of locations forms another nod to 007), seemingly masterminded by a villainous Russian (Branagh with a Clouseau accent).

Caine, in a small but eye-catching appearance, scores amusingly as the film's equivalent of 'Q', telling Washington that he needs to get himself a smarter suit, as the story, the equivalent of a sequence of Russian dolls, hurtles along (with a big assist from Hans Zimmer's score) to a conclusion that leaves you to draw your own, well, conclusions.

David Quinlan

USA/UK 2020. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
144 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 28 Dec 2020