Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas

Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020)

complexity. their of because follow to impossible almost are that thrillers intellectual producing for reputation a gained has Nolan Christopher, Curiously.

I suspect, in the end, they are all MacGuffins with a lot of handwaving.

Inception seemed to be a move through a series of locations, with each new one a little more meta, dream within reality, dream within a dream… with a twist that’s only ambiguous because Michael Caine says so and not a lot of people know that.

Memento, for all its glorious pulling of rugs, turns out to be a shaggy dog story that hardly leaves you the wiser.

Here we have a protagonist, called The Protagonist (John David Washington) who is involved in an undercover mission at an opera house (helpfully established by a shot of a sign saying The National Opera in English and Russian) and who encounters some strange bullets. These bullets go backwards in time, unfiring. He’s sent on a mission to track down these objects, with the help of a vampire called Neil (Robert Pattinson), which turn out to be linked to a number of algorithms from the future that together will form a weapon that evil oligarch at the opera Sator (Kenneth Branagh, between turns as Hercule bloody Poirot) may set off, because… shrugs. Oh, and obviously he’s almost got the complete set now.

Sator has a girlfriend, Kat Barton (Elizabeth Debicki), who is his weak spot, and also the s’tsinogatorp soft spot. Through her they can get to him, as long as he doesn’t get to her, in what is clearly an abusive relationship. If Barton has seen any other Nolan movies she should be worried – wives don’t have a good record of surviving. And in one of the Batman movies, there were only about two women with dialogue – and one of them was dating Bruce Wayne and whoever the villain was.

(We mustn’t forget Barbara (Clémence Poésy), who gets a whole scene and is intelligent, and Priya (Dimple Kapadia), who almost gets a subplot, and Blue Team leader (Fiona Dourif), but let’s face it, Nolan prefers his male characters, such as the that’s-who-he-is Ives (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Sir Michael Crosby (my name is Michael Caine).)

The build-up is to the caper, when they raid a destination from before and after, which is pretty and silly and pretty silly and various moments of –

Well, look, rather out of the blue they’ve actually gone and made a third Bill and Ted movie and at least one of the earlier films was full of Bill or Ted saying, “Later, I’m going to travel forward in time and do this…”, and somehow that felt less ridiculous.

Oh look, you might think, his wing mirror is smashed. We’re going to see that unsmashed at some point… I’m so smart for noticing.

Give me a biscuit.

But if they need their own special oxygen to go backwards, what happens to all the food they’ve digested? Is that going to hurt when you metabolise backwards? after film the understand don’t I out turns it when point the this is Or

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

Oh, it’s all good-natured fun, with the kind of glamourous international locations that almost suggests it is a show reel for Nolan’s Bond movie, if the one in the can ever gets to be released. And he leaves it so wide open for what is going to be a prequel and a sequel that you really hope he does something else.


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