"Reel Reviews: ‘Tenet’ requires all your attention, still has terrible ending" by: Jessica Shepard

 
   Last week I had to choose between two time travel movies – “Tenet” and “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” 
   I caved in to the hype for Tenet and saw it first thing Friday afternoon. 
   Now, the film does hold up to the hype with action scenes and uses that age-old “falling in love with a spy” trope; but, the dialogue is hard to hear in many instances and the music drowns out a lot. 
   The only other upside is that right from the moment the movie starts, you’ve got an action sequence made to – hopefully - hold your attention. 
   Tenet is a spy film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who produced it with Emma Thomas. 
   As a co-production between the United Kingdom and United States, it stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, Clémence Poésy, and Kenneth Branagh. 
   Washington plays an unnamed CIA agent called, “The Protagonist” that participates in an undercover operation at a Kiev opera house. 
   He is aided by a masked soldier with a distinctive trinket, who appears to “un-fire” a bullet through a hostile gunman. 
   After rescuing an exposed spy and seizing a strange artifact, the Protagonist is captured by Russian mercenaries. 
   He endures torture before consuming a cyanide pill and later awakens to learn the pill was fake; his team has been killed and the artifact lost. 
   The Protagonist learns that he is now employed by a secret organization called “Tenet,” whose mission involves the human race’s survival. 
   He is directed to Barbara (Poésy), a scientist studying objects with “inverted” entropy and thus move backwards through time. 
   She believes they are manufactured in the future, and there exists a weapon that can wipe out the past. 
   The Protagonist traces the inverted cartridges to Mumbai-based arms dealer Priya Singh (Kapadia). 
   Assisted by a local contact named Neil (Pattinson), he confronts Priya, who turns out to be Tenet’s member. 
   Her cartridges were purchased and inverted by Andrei Sator (Branagh), a Russian oligarch originating from Stalsk-12, a former Soviet closed city. 
   Apparently Sator can communicate with the future somehow. 
   The Protagonist approaches Sator’s estranged wife Kat (Debicki), an art appraiser who unknowingly sold Sator a forged Goya drawing. 
   Kat reveals that Sator uses the drawing to keep her under his control. 
   To enlist Kat’s help, the Protagonist plots to steal the drawing from Freeport, a facility within Oslo Airport. 
   Inside Freeport, they find a machine (later referred to as “Turnstile”) from which two masked men emerge; the inverted one attacks the Protagonist, while Neil chases after the normal one. 
   Neil prevents the Protagonist from killing the inverted man, adding that he “took care” of the other one. 
   Priya explains that Turnstile is developed in the future and can invert the entropy of objects and people and that the two masked men were the same person. 
   Believing the drawing destroyed, Kat introduces the Protagonist to Sator, only to learn later that the drawing is still intact. 
   That little slip-up causes much more tension and that’s basically all this movie does – a time-traveling spy flick with tension. 
   All in all, it definitely requires almost all of your attention to follow the movie through for 150 minutes and if you’re not prepared for that, then this isn’t your movie.
Tenet is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some suggestive references, and brief strong language.   

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