Christopher Nolan’s Tenet Is Impressive But Lacks Character Development

Tenet was written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the visionary behind films such as Inception, Interstellar and The Dark Knight Trilogy.

The film was released on Sept. 3 and boasts several big names such as John David Washington (The Protagonist), Robert Pattinson (Neil), Elizabeth Debicki (Kat), and Kenneth Branagh (Andrei Sator).

In classic Nolan fashion, the film wastes no time and immediately thrusts the audience into a whole new mysterious world. It begins with a terrorist attack on a symphony where it appears some of the bullets fired are moving backwards.

Our protagonist, who is referred to as The Protagonist for the entirety of the film, is taken to a secret facility where they introduce him to inverted objects. These objects are explained to be sent from the future and move backwards in time instead of forward, so he must manipulate the flow of time to prevent World War III.

Like Inception, the film is perplexing to the general movie-going audience. For the first hour, it is difficult to comprehend what exactly is unraveling on the screen in front of you and you find themselves struggling to catch up with the plot.

It becomes evident as the film trudges on that Nolan is making an effort to keep details mysterious and he relies on the audience having to think for themselves with only a few scenes consisting of expository dialogue.

The few scenes that do consist of dialogue only serve to move the plot forward instead of developing and fleshing out the characters. Most of the characters in the film seem one dimensional and the audience never really gets to find out who the characters are or what their motivations are.

Similar to most Nolan films, it is very impressive on the technical side. The action keeps you on the edge of your seat with the help of an incredible score by composer Ludwig Göransson.

While the film is technically impressive, it feels very emotionally shallow. The characters don’t  resonate resulting in the stakes feeling very low even though the fate of the world is at hand.

Fans of Nolan’s previous films will undoubtedly enjoy Tenet, but it feels complex just for the sake of being complex.