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Tyler Purcell

Tenet

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I actually still haven’t seen the movie. Was going to see it in 70mm, but then my girlfriend catched a cold and had to stay home and get her tested for Covid-19.... The test came out negative luckily.

Still bummed out, but gonna see it soon digitally.

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1 hour ago, Stuart Brereton said:

The dialogue mix wasn’t terrible, although there were definitely moments when it couldn’t be heard, and it could generally have been higher in the mix. The main problem for me was that the central idea of the movie is either nonsense, or so poorly explained that it might as well be nonsense.

I saw it in Spain (across the border, as Gibraltar cinema not open yet) in original version with Spanish subtitles so luckily when I could not hear what they said I read it hahaha.....I'm bilingual.....anyway......didn't have a clue what the hell was going on in the last part of the film when some people were going forwards and some backwards in the big 'episode' at the end......maybe the producers said...right Chris....you're one of the most respected directors in the world, everyone will go see your films, make it so that they have to watch it another 3 times so we get more money hahahahahahah....anyway Mr Nolan.....hero......keep doing your thing!

Edited by Stephen Perera
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I saw a 15/70mm projection at the BFI IMAX in London the other day. Damn the projection was amazing but that story was so damn difficult to understand. I would like to watch it again to try and understand it more. Kenneth Brannagh's performance was outstanding in my opinion.

Also the stunts and the SFX was so good to experience. 

 

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8 hours ago, Manu Delpech said:

Seeing quite a few people appreciating this way more on a second viewing. Seems like the first one could be overwhelming. 

If it had been intriguing as well as confusing, I might watch it again. Sadly, it wasn’t. I do admire Chris Nolan for his willingness to tackle big ideas and concepts, but Tenet is just riddled with plot holes and nonsense. If you strip away the time inversion gimmick it’s just a secret agent movie about stopping a dastardly villain from destroying the world, something that has been done 26 times by the Bond movies alone. If your whole claim to originality is based on a dramatic concept that apparently most of your audience don’t understand, I think you’ve failed.

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1 hour ago, Stuart Brereton said:

If it had been intriguing as well as confusing, I might watch it again. Sadly, it wasn’t. I do admire Chris Nolan for his willingness to tackle big ideas and concepts, but Tenet is just riddled with plot holes and nonsense. If you strip away the time inversion gimmick it’s just a secret agent movie about stopping a dastardly villain from destroying the world, something that has been done at least 26 times by the Bond movies alone. If your whole claim to originality is based on a dramatic concept that apparently most of your audience don’t understand, I think you’ve failed.

I regret that's a pretty reasonable precis, caveated slightly for the fact that we might be missing some amazing twist because of the mix.

And the time inversion thing is absolutely not original.

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Saw it here in Southern California. Finally a theater open (with only three people in the theater) in Orange County. 

Movie is definitely overwhelming. My brain was scrambled eggs when I left the theater, I had to go on YouTube and watch one of those 'ending explained' videos (and I still had a hard time following that). I was following along until the third act then I just got lost...and even a little bored. That last act reminded me of the third act of Rogue One where there was just so much going on for so long that it just became a bit much, especially when the movie has already told you what one of the characters is going to do and you're just waiting to see it play out. At times you feel like you're watching a sport you don't know the rules to and aren't really sure which team is which. When something happens you sometimes are asking yourself "wait was that a good thing?" Also yea, time running backwards and forwards isn't a new thing, I think back to good old Star Trek TNG episodes like Manheim's experiments in Season One's "We'll Always Have Paris" or literally characters going forward and backwards at the same time in Season Six's "Timescape." The show Lost got into this kind of stuff a bit too so its not uncharted territory, but it is presented in an interesting way. The fight and car chase action set pieces are something else and worth the ticket price. They reminded me of the corridor fight in Inception. That being said there seem to be a lot of big visual things going on in the movie that don't really serve a purpose like the boat race scene. That just seemed like something cool Nolan wanted to get in the movie. In lesser hands some of those sequences would become Michael Bay-ish quickly. 

From a production standpoint, it's basically perfection save for the sound mix, which as many have pointed out has dialogue that is oddly pushed back in the mix (as opposed to something that feels deliberate like the buried dialogue in the seduction scene at the nightclub in The Social Network). Even in 'quieter' moments the characters were hard to understand, and if they had an accent or a mask on that made it that much worse. I noticed this last year when I saw the prologue which was shown with Star Wars IX. Ludwig Goransson's score is incredible and fits the movie well, but I think pound for pound Hans Zimmer brings more warmth and heart to Nolan's movies. Interstellar and Inception, in particular really benefit from Zimmer's ability to bring emotion, where Goransson's score, while technically amazing and interesting, functions more like sound design in an already convoluted sound field. Zimmer's music also better bridges some of those quick transitions from scene to scene that Nolan likes to do by pulling two scenes into the same emotional idea whereas in Tenet those transitions seemed oddly abrupt, almost as if we'd just come back from a commercial break. The pacing of the movie feels a bit off. Maybe that's because Nolan's usual editor Lee Smith didn't work on this film. 

There's nothing to say about Hoyte Van Hoytema's work critically. The movie looks fantastic all the way around and he should definitely be in the running for all the accolades. Looks like there was a bit of DI work (the end credits called out a colorist at Fotokem) but the movie still retains a nice natural feel. To me this is what a 'large format' movie should look like (in contrast to so many movies shot on large format cameras that essentially could've been shot on Super 35 because of the lens choices and staging). I think they used the IMAX format very well. To my eye Interstellar is a 'prettier' movie but I think stylistically this movie hit all the right notes visually. 

There's a really interesting philosophical question being asked here that I think gets overlooked, both in the movie and by the critics, which is, if our future selves could judge us, would they choose justice or mercy? Without giving away too much, the 'future' in the movie (or some future antagonists at least) blame today's world for problems yet to come, but if every generation is doing the best it knows how, even if the consequences down the road aren't palatable, can people today really be blamed for acting in what they believe are their own best interests? If we knew better would we do better? And even if we do better does that necessarily result in a better future (or at very least a future that is more palatable to those living in it -- which may or may not be the same as 'better')? Unfortunately I think the movie gets too caught up in the grandfather paradox, of whether or not the future could judge the past technically, and doesn't ask the question of whether or not it should. 

Edited by Phil Jackson

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great review Phil.......I like the analogy of watching a sport you don't understand and.....to me that would be watching the 'Madison' track cycling event at the Olympics hahaha or similar......and yes the big theme could be what would you do if in the future you have a dystopian world and you can travel back and do something about it......like knocking out the US Government for example haha...the mind boggles

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5 hours ago, Phil Jackson said:

Looks like there was a bit of DI work (the end credits called out a colorist at Fotokem) but the movie still retains a nice natural feel.

All films have a ‘bit of DI work’ (using the term loosely) and credit a colorist. That signifies nothing more than crediting an editor would.

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If you actually look closely at some of the VFX in Tenet, they're honestly not that wonderful. There's a shot in the trailer of a building unexploding then exploding which is rough as hell if you frame through it. I could have done better in After Effects.

(It was possibly done in After Effects, but they'd have put something more expensive on the invoice.)

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I didn't see any problems on the big screen with the visual effects. Had I not known the building collapse and re-assemble was a model, I wouldn't have known honestly, it looked really good. Also remember, the trailer was done way before the current cut. 

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12 hours ago, Phil Jackson said:

There's nothing to say about Hoyte Van Hoytema's work critically. The movie looks fantastic all the way around and he should definitely be in the running for all the accolades

I agree, I think this is probably some of his best work. I haven't posted my review here because I don't want to spoil anything, but I think Hoyte did a great job. It's more like "her" than "interstellar". Some of those beautiful high dynamic range shots, with beautiful clean blacks, even on a film print, outstanding. 

I don't know if I said this on here, but during the film presentation, when the digital projector shut off from the trailers, the screen went black. I mean totally pitch black and I heard the 5 perf 70mm film projector running. I thought the douser was closed, but suddenly the WB logo came out of the darkness, I was shocked. I have never seen a print with such deep blacks. Having seen it digitally AND on film, I have to say the film had deeper blacks than the lousy digital presentation I saw it. 

I also found out, only reel 4 was done digitally, the rest of the rolls were done photochemically, 

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On 9/9/2020 at 3:57 AM, Stuart Brereton said:

If it had been intriguing as well as confusing, I might watch it again. Sadly, it wasn’t. I do admire Chris Nolan for his willingness to tackle big ideas and concepts, but Tenet is just riddled with plot holes and nonsense. If you strip away the time inversion gimmick it’s just a secret agent movie about stopping a dastardly villain from destroying the world, something that has been done 26 times by the Bond movies alone. If your whole claim to originality is based on a dramatic concept that apparently most of your audience don’t understand, I think you’ve failed.

I actually saw TENET around 7x, mainly because I was incredibly depressed and had nowhere to go in the lockdown. I think the film doesn’t intend for you to understand the exposition, sometimes actors mumble their words or the dialogue is dampened by the loud sound effects. I think there’s something between the lines, it’s life replaying itself, a new concept of time, I think as humans we have a limited understanding of how the universe works and Tenet is made to question our overall reality. For that reason I enjoyed the film, because I am one of those who can’t accept what they see, it wasn’t an easy subject to explain to the audience, but it’s the visualization of colors from red/blue/orange, the orange circles, images are information and I saw haphazard numbers in the movie, maybe this is like Eyes Wide Shut where Stanley placed heavy symbolism in his images, I sort of saw it the same way. There’s something there, we’re just not smart enough to see it yet... 

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10 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

There’s something there, we’re just not smart enough to see it yet... 

Or maybe the filmmakers were just trying so hard to be clever that they forgot to be comprehensible.

If you don't intend for your audience to understand the dialogue, why write it in the first place? Opinions will obviously vary, but personally, I don't want to have to watch a film seven times before I understand it.

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14 minutes ago, Stuart Brereton said:

Or maybe the filmmakers were just trying so hard to be clever that they forgot to be comprehensible.

If you don't intend for your audience to understand the dialogue, why write it in the first place? Opinions will obviously vary, but personally, I don't want to have to watch a film seven times before I understand it.

Well, I saw it 7x because it was literally the only movie playing in a theater and I was on the verge of blowing my brains out, so I was glad someone’s movie was playing in a theater. And I don’t believe all films should be comprehensible, I think it’s harder to make a film where the audience can determine it’s meaning, why not be challenged from time to time, especially on a big budget movie. “We live in a twilight world.” after all. 

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45 minutes ago, Josh Gallegos said:

 I don’t believe all films should be comprehensible, I think it’s harder to make a film where the audience can determine it’s meaning, why not be challenged from time to time,

A movie that is challenging because it presents complex ideas and concepts is fine by me, but a movie that is incomprehensible because it doesn't adequately explain those concepts and ideas is a failure.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Stuart Brereton said:

A movie that is challenging because it presents complex ideas and concepts is fine by me, but a movie that is incomprehensible because it doesn't adequately explain those concepts and ideas is a failure.

 

 

I thought they were adequately explained. The Protagonist is a CIA agent who passes a test, he’s on a next level assignment with the code word “Tenet”, it’s explained what “Tenet” is, the ability to create inverted weapons- they don’t necessarily explain how it’s done only that it comes from the future. The Protagonist does some CIA stuff and investigates how the bullets were inverted which leads him to a Russian weapons dealer, and the only way to get to him is through his wife. It’s the action that becomes hard to follow, one of the sequences I never fully grasped was the action scene in the highway. The Protagonist agrees to steal what he thought would be plutonium but it was a piece of intricate technology, after that sequence I became lost in the narrative... it seems the Russian was assembling this tech where the missing pieces were hidden and the scientists who created it committed suicide, it was a breakthrough like the Manhattan Project. 
 

Regardless of this I feel the powerful elite like Elon Musk have access to such technology or knowledge, the innovations in Space X, his interests in integrating humans with AI, his desire to colonize Mars and his overall fear of a super AI, seems that he has access to tech that is out of this world. So, in regards to TENET, I think it’s completely plausible that there is tech that the entire world would know nothing about which is where I became invested, I thought it was a worthwhile film  and liked it better than his other movies. 

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12 hours ago, Josh Gallegos said:

I thought they were adequately explained. The Protagonist is a CIA agent who passes a test, he’s on a next level assignment with the code word “Tenet”, it’s explained what “Tenet” is, the ability to create inverted weapons- they don’t necessarily explain how it’s done only that it comes from the future. The Protagonist does some CIA stuff and investigates how the bullets were inverted which leads him to a Russian weapons dealer, and the only way to get to him is through his wife. It’s the action that becomes hard to follow, one of the sequences I never fully grasped was the action scene in the highway. The Protagonist agrees to steal what he thought would be plutonium but it was a piece of intricate technology, after that sequence I became lost in the narrative... it seems the Russian was assembling this tech where the missing pieces were hidden and the scientists who created it committed suicide, it was a breakthrough like the Manhattan Project. 
 

You're describing the action there, not the concepts. The central idea of this movie, time inversion, is never adequately or consistently explained. Without being able to understand that, and how it relates to those action sequences, the movie is really just a James Bond clone, without the fun. 

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On 10/10/2020 at 1:47 PM, Josh Gallegos said:

I thought it was the people that became inverted and not time itself.... ?

That was my understanding as well. Time itself isn't moving backwards but rather objects and people are. What Nolan (erroneously) describes as reverse entropy. (Erroneous because time and entropy aren't actually connected. If you put food in a freezer you can dramatically slow down or functionally stop entropy, but time still marches on).  But how this is done is basically a giant MacGuffin. Similar to "the formula" in Interstellar. A story like this is where you miss a great techno-thriller writer like Michael Crichton, who, I think, did a better job of setting up the story world for his stories to unfold. Jurassic Park is full of just as ridiculous MacGuffins and conceits but because everything within the story world is so expertly crafted and grounded in the real world you just kind of go along with it (but in fairness Jurassic Park the novel really goes deep into the background and the movie was able to take just enough from the book to make things work. It's a different story to start with a screenplay).

Edited by Phil Jackson

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Well the lead character has no true name, he is simply known as The Protagonist, even in the script, which I have a copy of, he's simply written as "the protagonist",. There isn't even a backstory or character development. The exposition isn't really there for people to understand it, sometimes you can't really hear what they are saying. It has something to do with sequencing, it's as if he made a puzzle for the audience and it's their job to piece it together. It's an experimental mega-budget action/thriller. The sequences are out of order, in the opening opera scene we see Neil, who wears the backpack with the orange ring tethered on a small string save the Protagonist, which means the item that he was taking from the coat area was an inverted weapon. The Protagonist was meant to die, but Neil saved him. The ending of the movie is really the beginning, because remember that all the pieces of the device are disassembled and they all need to hide the pieces again, and anyone who sees the full weapon must die. So I believe the film is stuck in a loop of events, the meaning of the orange circle, that's why the protagonist is trying to find out what the anomaly is, so he traces the source of this anomaly to the Indian woman which he ends up killing. "Mission accomplished". My only question is how the Russian billionaire's wife, when she murders her husband in the yacht, how was she able to exist without wearing the oxygen mask, unless the the ROTOS device was something of a time-machine, the huge machine in the airport which they passed through again.... ? I could be wrong. 

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If you think about it, the Russian billionaire is searching for the missing pieces of this machine throughout the film, so even in death, there's another version of him that exists, how else would Kat be able to see herself jumping off the yacht and tell that story in the restaurant scene where they try to beat up the protagonist. When characters interact with themselves they can replace their former self. For instance, in the "end" the siege in the desert. Neil dies, he's shot in the head, but another version of Neil, the one who is honking the military vehicle is trying to warn them about it, but they run past and are trapped. When that version of Neil dies, the Neil who was in the military vehicle replaces him. SO this way the Russian has found a way to make himself immortal, remember when he says that he is buying time, maybe he has done this to prolong his life since he is dying of cancer. Perhaps when the Russian was dying he heard about this mysterious tech, given his immense wealth he was able to buy time.... or at least that is my own understanding of the concept. If this were to be explained it would be a four hour movie.

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