The Thing About ‘Tenet’

The thing about Tenet is it’s a palindrome with a twist: You can spell the title of Christopher Nolan’s latest opus the same backward and forward and you can enjoy the movie front to back and back again, too.

Tenet’s science fiction of the first rate. Don’t try to understand it, one of the characters we see pop in and out the story declares shortly after casually dropping “backward entropy” as an actual nugget of conversation, but do feel confident you’ll get it; often when they speak the heroes played by John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, the former a CIA and the latter his mysterious handler/partner, do so to explain som’in’ or another to each other, just the facts. Good for us.

Now get this: Someone – Sir Kenneth Branagh, in full ham mode as a Russian oligarch with a death wish – can control the future from the future in the present, and only a pincer movement across time and space will prevent him from starting World War III. It’s almost as if Nolan & Co. are warning us against billionaires going wild, in a way.

Is Tenet incomprehensible? Of course not. Plus, Washington is magnetic.

Nolan helmed from his own script, but after 150 minutes held tight by Ludwig Göransson’s hauntingly alluring score, you will have gotten the gist and whims of the plot well enough to realize that time travel like this works better on TV (I see you, Fringe).

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