I went and saw Chris Nolan’s -˜Tenet’ the other day. It’s fair to say that he’s my favourite director right now. He’s had a string of hits including the trilogy for the Batman Origin series, (which for this fan of the caped crusader was a huge breath of fresh air after seeing it being massacred year-after-year); Inception (unbelievable!); and Interstellar (Epic and a little crazy). With that kind of portfolio, my expectation for this film was pretty high. The guy just always pushes the boundaries, gets you thinking with plots like jigsaw puzzles alongside soundtracks that rattle everything in between your ears.
This one, however, had the budget, a crazy idea, though for me, some missing pieces. It’s complicated. Tick. The budget looks to be insane with massive effects. Tick. Well-known actors. Tick. Exotic locations, toys and battle scenes that are mind-boggling. Thing is, it’s too complicated. Even for Mr Nolan. It makes no sense.Â There’s a lack of emotion where there are massive opportunities for it. You don’t really get to know the characters so don’t buy into them or really care. This ball of wool rolls in the other direction (ironic – when you see it). It starts with a single thread and ends in a hot mess, does it’s best to tie up loose ends though in my book – fails.
That my friend comes down to the narrative. The plot or clothesline that all these fancy garments hang off is far from a straight line. It’s like he doesn’t know where he’s going with it and the audience follows him there. It’s enjoyable, a visual spectacle that keeps you thinking so you’d have to say it’s two-thirds of the way there. It just doesn’t finish where his other films have.
I’m reading Stephen Kings’s -˜Outsider,’ right now. I’ve read a lot of his stuff over the years and in all honesty while I can’t call myself a constant reader, I will say that the man knows how to spin a yarn. He picks you up and drives you along with casual anecdotes that always add to what you’re reading rather than being distracted by them. He’ll bring in an outside element that’s completely unrelated and will make it work. It’s always simple, clear and above all else – clever. He knows his craft and he sticks to it, which is why we’re seeing more and more of his books being given decent film budgets.
Writing and Directing can’t be easy. There aren’t too many people that either attempt or are given funding to do it. There will be more from Mr Nolan and I’ll be seated, ready to take it in. I’ll attempt to watch -˜Tenet,’ again, to see if I can’t decipher more of it what is actually going on. If others join me, that alone is a win for him and Warner Brothers. Recouping $200-$225M might take some doing though it already looks like he’s well on his way.