Tenet

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:

I loved Tenet. There are some problems but I loved the conceit so much I saw it again and woke up in the middle of the night at least twice thinking about it.

I’m about to listen to this with trepidation! Don’t criticize my precious!

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Two minutes in… uh oh.

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We did not love Tenet. We do love you. Hopefully by the end you will still love us. :pensive:

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I do still love you…

Things I’d take issue with:

Spoliers
  • I did think it was funny. The scene with Michael Caine was hilarious. Mahir was hilarious every time he showed up. The guy grabbing the gold bar on the hijacked plane was funny.
  • There have been a lot of complaints about the sounds. But I just didn’t have a problem hearing the dialogue.
  • There were some subtle attempts to connect with TP emotionally (a tear runs down his cheek when he’s told the team from the opera didn’t make it out; there’s retrospective connection/affection with Neil ordering the Diet Coke for TP).
  • There were aspects of been there/done that with the time travel but I don’t remember ever seeing a movie with characters moving in opposite directions through time. Actually I’m not sure I’ve scene movies where characters were moving backwards in time was even a thing (Benjamin Button?). The only time I’ve seen backwards time traveler have to sit around and wait for time to move before getting out of the “machine” was a movie called Primer.
  • The three big scenes for the actual conceit to shine were the fight in the Freeport (shown twice), the car chase, and the big last battle. And I thought they were great (w/ caveats).
    Shortcomings of the movie:
  • The conceit just doesn’t work. I keep trying to imagine how just one baddie and goodie would fight in a scenario like the final battle and I just don’t think it works… I can’t wait to watch the two Freeport fistfights simultaneously and doing some fastforwarding/rewinding. But even there I think in the first version there’s a rack of paintings that get knocked over that I don’t think happens in the second version. I think this is why there was minimal on screen interaction between the goods and bads during the last battle (exception being Neil taking a bullet and popping the door… he must have been lying there dead when the bad guy got there).
  • If they were going to have Kat in the movie at all it should have been just to recruit her to kill Sator (with Mahir there as a back-up). It does make sense that they’d need Sator dead before he was able to leave record for the future baddies to know why their plan hadn’t worked.
  • The Big Bad having terminal cancer and planning to kill himself destroys any motivation for Kat. Hypothetically she should just be waiting him out (unless he was planning to kill her or expose her when he died, but they didn’t make that clear). It seems like they got 80% through the script and decided he was going to want to have to kill himself for some reason.
  • They didn’t do enough work for it to make sense that our cold-blooded Protagonist would care what happened to Kat at all.
    "
    OK that’s all I can write before the self-loathing for nerding out this much become too much to bear.
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Spoliers

I see your points on these things. My responses would be:
-Eh, Michael Caine. Seen it. Kinda cute though.
-I’m glad you didn’t have a problem with the sound but boy did I and lots of people.
-Retrospective affection/connection is not the same as stuff I can feel during the movie.
-I think Dr Who was one of the main things I was thinking about when I thought of all the time conceits having been done.
-The scenes didn’t seem that cool for reason Ben and I talked bout (particularly the last battle just felt generic).

Looking forward to listening. I think I might like the concepts in Tenet more than the movie itself. I can’t stop thinking about them. I think it is a movie that will become better appreciated over time as it’s thought about (and as people have a chance to see it with the sound properly mixed. I just gave up on trying to understand some of the exposition and googled it afterwards.)

I did like the young cast, though felt more like the movie was targeted less at me than as with any previous Nolan. Debicki must have been cast because of The Night Manager because she did the same character. Same for JD Washington and BlacKkKlansman. I don’t think he is a director who can mold his cast at all; they need to bring whatever they are contributing.

To his credit, he seems to be aware of this and casts them and uses them appropriately.

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Haha.

I really enjoyed this episode. I agreed with basically everything you said about Tenet and disagreed with basically everything you said about the rest of Nolan’s oeuvre. I thought this film was everything bad about Nolan and very, very little of what is good.

Different strokes for different folks, though. I for one haven’t figured out why anyone would ever want to watch a Marvel movie. But like I said, and like you guys said in this episode, every film isn’t for every person.

That said… Dunkirk is really good. If you haven’t seen it (@bstormcrow) , you should. If any movies should be watched, if they can be more than just a diversion from life (and I think they can be more than that), then Dunkirk is worth watching. Not so much for Tenet, in my opinion.

I found Tenet interesting but ultimately empty from a character/emotional/philosophical standpoint.

Like you guys, I’m looking forward to Dune. I think I’m gonna rewatch that weird 80s thing first though. Its been a while…

Keep up the good work, fellas.

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I have a soft spot for that weird eighties thing

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I like the circa 2000 SciFi Channel miniseries myself. I never got the 80s movie.

I just discovered that exists. I’ll look into it.

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Heads up, I understand there’s a directors cut where they add some nudity. The TV version doesn’t have any of that though.

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You guys are totally right about the failures with character development and failure to payoff the conceit better.

I think I just enjoyed what it was and didn’t think about how much better it could have been. Same thing happened after Endgame. I was pretty satisfied with the whole MCU project (even with several mediocrities and them trying to crash the whole enterprise into end-stage feminism). But then I was depressed after y’all went through and dissected how much better it could have been (the really did try to ruin Cap and Thor).

So I thank you and curse you for not letting me enjoy mediocrity.

Not going to lie though… I’m going to watch Tenet several more times and I do have a metal washer tied to the back of my European Carry-all with a red string.

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We probably needed Jake there to balance out the snobbery. I don’t have a metal washer but when I was a kid I had a poster of two velociraptors from Jurassic Park that said “you are what I eat.”

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Ouch, yall really nailed my man Nolan :sleepy:

A friend of mine pointed this detail out to me after my first viewing, perhaps it will change your mind about Tenet for the better, though I anticipate the same reaction that Ben had regarding Commissioner Gordon being the SWAT team driver in TDK.

Spoilers

Neil is the son of Sator and Kat.
He is also the one who inverts a bullet in the opening opera house scene.

Did Nolan give us the information in an obvious enough way so we could figure this out? Not really, but this is the precise reason I like Nolan, “the thinking man’s director,” though I totally understand why one would think this is lazy or pretentious.
To each their own. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I picked up that he was the opera house guy but I didn’t realize he was the son. That’s crazy.

Great take, fellas, I really enjoyed it. My philosophy on Nolan is that the Joker always wins. He’s Nolan’s most interesting and fun character and at the end of the day his worldview is unanswered in Nolan’s nihilistic films. In this film he tried to beat Boring Joker by killing him before he could kill himself. But Joker wins because in doing that he killed the plot.

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That’s a good take. Pretty sure I agree.

You said the movie had nothing to say, but it did, and you acknowledged that when you talked about Debicki’s liberation in taking that world-threatening risk with the shooting—you just didn’t like that story decision. I didn’t really either, and I agree they had a problem telling their story because their view of marriage is contra God’s created order and male and female natures, but that doesn’t mean they said nothing there.

Also, I think you missed the intent regarding the time travel and the difficult-to-follow visuals. The movie is entering into pop culture’s conversation about time travel. Should there be such a thing? Maybe not, but it exists. That means it knows you’ve seen time travel before and it wants to show you new mechanics in a way that lets you think about them. It’s relying on you having seen Star Trek and Primer, or reading about them later. So when you say you’ve seen someone meeting themselves before, and you were confused in the battle, you’ve got the movie wrong as it wants you to recognize the “meets oneself” trope and figure out the details after being overwhelmed by them in your first viewing. It wants you to imagine and extrapolate the chain of events that led the protagonist to arrange his own past so it put that payoff outside of the movie. Again, disagree with doing that vs. weaving a future montage into the climax, but I think it’s wrong to say it’s forgotten or that movies shouldn’t try to make use of what you already know or will learn.

Really enjoyed the conversation, not trying to win an Internet argument, thought many minor points about color, audio, Michael Caine. Sator, etc., were salient, respect your right to hate any movie, think I’m an idiot, etc. All those disclaimers.

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