It’s the big release we were never quite sure we’d see: Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” has come to European screens, boosting box office figures after a lacklustre summer for cinemas. Our film critic Lisa Nesselson gives us her take on Nolan’s cerebral, extravagant offering starring John David Washington, Elisabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh.
We also take a look at what’s coming up on the festival beat as the Lido welcomes a scaled-down selection to this year’s Mostra in Venice and Deauville goes ahead with its festival of American film despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Plus, we check out a French comedy that looks at the absurdity and frustrations of life in the digital age, and Gaspar Noé’s “Irreversible” gets re-reversed for a new, enlightening version.
The first wave of reviews is in for the most anticipated and mysterious release of 2020. While moviegoers are still pleasantly unspoiled on just what exactly Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is about, or even what its title means, the initial critical consensus is emerging less than a week out from the film’s international debut in markets that include the UK and other parts of Europe and Asia.
Depending on who you ask, the opinion ranges from this is a fine piece of eye-candy and Nolan brain-teasing to its evidence Nolan has devolved into self-parody. Intriguingly, all seem to agree that it not Nolan’s “masterpiece.”
“When Tenet is at its best it’s frankly breathtaking and it’s what Nolan excels at – showing you things you have never seen, and later, without spoilers, showing you things you have seen but turning them on their heads so they become completely new.
“At points there are moments that feel akin to the first time audiences witnessed ‘bullet time’ in The Matrix, they are that wonderful… [but] Tenet’s stakes are too high, perhaps, to really have any emotional impact – the end of the world as we know it, even during a pandemic, isn’t an easy concept to come to terms with and makes individual relationships a bit insignificant.”