Ready for Tenet?

Avoid social media posts, leave your reasoning at home and get the full Nolan treatment

September 04, 2020 12:45 pm | Updated 12:45 pm IST

The first rule of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is, ‘Don’t talk about Christopher Nolan’s Tenet .’ If one does, some spoilers are inevitable. For the best possible Tenet experience, do what I did and read nothing about it, don’t watch the trailers, and scroll past the myriad posts of that great curse of our times, social media. If you do, when you enter the cinema on September 18, the date Warner Bros has announced for its India release (if cinemas have been reopened, that is), you are in for a treat. If not, it is the day when Alankrita Shrivastava’s Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare , which I had the great fortune of watching at Busan last year, drops on Netflix, and you are in for a treat there too.

Some bad news first. By now, you must have heard a tidal wave of noise — I use the term aptly — about the perplexing sound mix of Tenet , where large parts of dialogue are incomprehensible because of actors wearing masks and other obstructions, or simply being drowned out by the music. Sadly, this is true. I was watching it in a brand new Odeon Luxe cinema and thought it was just my ears that were playing up. I am not alone, as many around the world have had the same issue. Secondly, kindly don’t bring your logic A-game to the cinema, because if you do, you’ll be so busy applying it that you’ll lose sight of the sheer pleasure that is Tenet . Leave your reasoning outside the temple steps and let Nolan’s magic wash over you. Some poster or the other describes the film as ‘James Bond on acid.’ Whichever genius came up with that is absolutely right.

A still from Tenet

A still from Tenet

For those wanting no spoilers, now is the time to look away and move on to J Mathrubootham. I am tempted here to discuss Back To The Future Part II (1989), but instead, let’s talk about a Spanish film called Timecrimes (2007), by Nacho Vigalondo. Roger Ebert, in one long 142-word sentence, described a part of the films thus: “Hector has a main squeeze named Clara (Candela Fernandez), but leaves her to go into the woods, and finds The Girl (Barbara Goenaga), who has been assaulted by — don’t get ahead of me here — and then a little later he meets the Scientist (Nacho Vigalondo, the movie’s director), who puts him into what turns out to be a time- travel machine, which had earlier, or maybe later — now you’re getting behind me — done something to lead Hector to sit on the lawn, or maybe see himself sitting on the lawn, or maybe — but now I’m ahead and behind — and now (earlier, or later?) Hector wraps his bloody head (which I have explained in a review I still haven’t written) so he will not be recognized by two of the three Hectors, although I am not sure whether this is Hector 1, 2 or 3.”

Did you get that? If yes, you’ve got Tenet . If you haven’t, even better.

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