There are some filmmakers out there whose work has been consistently engaging that every new release gets immediately put on the must-watch list. For me, these are filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve, Ryan Coogler, Roger Deakins, Patty Jenkins, Taika Waititi, Wayne Blair, George Miller, and if I am honest with myself, at the top of that list for me is Christopher Nolan. His film Inception is still on my Top 10 Films list, and his work is always interesting even if like Interstellar the film does not capture me. Well, we live in precarious times, and I was not sure if I was going to be able to see Tenet in some form for a while, but thankfully I did get to see a screening today, and well, I think this is a film that is going to fall in the latter.
So to set the scene, we open in on an opera house in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a group of armed terrorists surge through the band and occupy the theatre. As the police arrive, one van is not what it seems because onboard is a CIA team led by our unnamed protagonist (John David Washington). This whole attack is a ruse to take out an operative whose cover has been blown, and it is our protagonist’s job to get the agent out. It all went wrong, but instead of dying to a cyanide capsule, he wakes up on a boat heading to an off-shore wind farm. It is here where he is informed that he is dead to the world, but a new opportunity has opened up. He is to explore Tenet, a mysterious phrase that is being used by arms smugglers and the like and which could be more dangerous than a missing nuclear weapon.
TL;DR – This is a film that revels in the tonal whiplash, but aside from an interesting performance from Mads it never quite comes together.
Score – 2 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
One of the things I have been really enjoying the last couple of years is how
action films are taking leaps and bounds with their cinematography and storytelling.
This has led to some interesting films being made that explore weird and
wonderful scenarios. Today we are looking at a film that first came into being
as a graphic novel and you can see that DNA all throughout this film. Though
while Polar has made the jump from
the page to the big screen, or at least
as big a screen as you want with Netflix,
I am not sure it was a completely successful transition.
So to set the scene, we open in the wilds of Chile where Michael Green (Johnny
Knoxville) is very much enjoying the last few days before his retirement, with
drugs, booze, and of course women. Just one problem, one of those things is
about to kill him, and sure enough, he is
not long for this world. Back in America, Duncan (Mads Mikkelsen) is a
fortnight away from his own mandatory retirement when he finds out that many of
the agents form the hitman company he works for has been killed in recent days.
Vivian (Katheryn Winnick) his contact and his handler for Mr Blut (Matt Lucas)
lets him know that they have found the person killing all their agents and
Duncan is tasked with going to Belarus to send a message. Just one problem, all is not what it seems.
TL;DR – At times deeply funny, and also quite shocking, while it doesn’t quite reach fantastic it is clear that a lot of talent and care has gone into the film, even though the full frontal nudity and language will be a barrier for many.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There are mid-credit scenes
This was actually quite a bit of a surprise, there had been a lot of bad buzz about the film floating around, and I honestly had no idea what to expect of the film other than the most blatant rip off of a Bond title since Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. However, the one thing that was clear from the first few minutes is that a lot of care has gone into the construction of this film, because there is a lot they could have phoned it in, but no they put the effort in.