Pardon my french.
I don’t know about you but I thought TeneT was pretty incredible. I know it was a disappointment for a lot of folks but I think that’s because they were expecting some mindless, Hollywood, summer blockbuster but instead they got a cerebral, instant cult classic.
As you might tell I have a fondness for words and I especially enjoy a little word play now and again. I think this might be one of the many reasons I love this movie. Now, I don’t know which came first to Mr Nolan; the title or the story, but what I love is the idea of using the title to essentially structure a story. If you have watched the movie then you will know what I’m talking about, the inversion of time and how this is illustrated by the use of a palindrome ( a word spelt the same backwards as well as forwards).
This movie is just superb on so many levels. It is difficult to understand after only one viewing, but this is not a bad thing, in fact it might just be the best thing about this movie. I am a bit of a film fan and whenever I watch a film I’ll remember it for a long time and will only watch it again after the memory of that first viewing has faded.
I had to re-watch this film about four times in one week, each time understanding a little bit more.
I think the major issue the majority of the critics had in regards to this movie is it wasn’t explicitly an entertaining movie, it also made you think, and I guess some people don’t like to think when they go to the movies. There was no barrage of CGI effects culminating in some epic final scene that ties the story in a nice bow, as is expected in most Hollywood blockbusters. No, the spectacle of this movie wasn’t flashy, seizure inducing special effects, it was the lingering questions and ideas that the movie was built from and raised.
With TeneT it was also about the negative space of the movie, like in a painting or drawing how the empty space around an object helps to define it. What I mean is how the audience had to fill in some of the blanks after the final reveal that the Protagonist and Neil have been performing one big temporal pincer movement (watch the movie, I don’t even know how to begin to explain) with Neil apparently moving backwards from the future and the protagonist beginning his journey as part of the shadowy organisation TENET from the outset of the movie.
Much how Mr Nolan did with the ending of Inception he gave his audience the possibility of being apart of the narrative, a way for each person to make the movie what they want by raising the question, Is Cobb in a dream? You decide, yes or no, there is no wrong answer, it’s up to you.
In regards to TeneT, some of the questions that were sparked in my mind were: What do the Protagonist and Neil get up to in the future? How do the both of them meet? How does the Protagonist recruit Neil? Is Neil really Max, Kat’s son, but older and from the future?Who are the unknown enemies from the future wanting to invert time? When did ‘The War’ happen between the normal time and inverted time forces, the one in which they are finding all the remnants of? Is there a rogues gallery of bond like villains that they go up against in the coming years? There are just so many questions. A part of me hopes there are no sequels or prequels made, but then if they are made by Chris, Mr Nolan sorry, then I might not mind.
I love unanswered questions, it’s maddening sometimes, but it’s also great. I aim for this ambiguity and openness in my own stories. I personally feel it gives the reader (or audience/viewer) an added bonus of feeling like they can help to finish the story by deciding their own interpretation, it raises discussions and debate. It gets people thinking and talking and that shouldn’t be a bad thing, should it?