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Blockbusters are back … with a bad guy who made Bond blush! KATE MUIR reviews Tenet


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Christopher Nolan's spy thriller Tenet is a dazzling and time-consuming spectacle: a highly anticipated blockbuster that should end months of darkness in cinemas.

Audiences will be amazed by the energy of the no-expense-spared action: a bullet-pumping bunker bust, a crash on a real Boeing 747 (that's one way to get rid of those retired jumbo jets), and amazing car chases that enter another dimension.

The film stars John David Washington as an American secret agent known only as The Protagonist, and Robert Pattinson as his deceptively lazy British counterpart Neil.

Christopher Nolan's spy thriller Tenet is a dazzling and time-consuming spectacle: a highly anticipated blockbuster that should end months of darkness in cinemas

Christopher Nolan's spy thriller Tenet is a dazzling and time-consuming spectacle: a highly anticipated blockbuster that should end months of darkness in cinemas

They try to thwart Andrei, a psychotic ex-Soviet arms dealer (Kenneth Branagh with a hokey accent) who has devious plans.

So far, so Bond. But Nolan brings the spy game to the chess grandmaster level, as time is reversed in a parallel universe.

The British director of Dunkirk has played similar pranks in other films like Interstellar, Inception and Memento, but it is almost a childish joy to see events go surprisingly backwards.

Even the title of the film is a palindrome.

John David Washington (pictured) is a smart, muscular hero who kills just as comfortably in SWAT team gear as he does in a Savile Row suit, walks out of the carnage and as a gentleman should only casually snap the top button of his single-breasted jacket

John David Washington (pictured) is a smart, muscular hero who kills just as comfortably in SWAT team gear as he does in a Savile Row suit, walks out of the carnage and as a gentleman should only casually snap the top button of his single-breasted jacket

Washington (who starred in BlacKkKlansman) is a smart, muscular hero who kills just as comfortably in SWAT team gear as he does in a Savile Row suit, stepping out of the carnage and casually pinning the top button of his single-breasted jacket should master.

Pattinson leaves Twilight firmly behind as too cool a public school guy with a steel interior. Oddly enough, the spies' code is "We live in a twilight world," which may be a joke.

The importance of bespoke tailoring in this film becomes clear when Michael Caine – who starred in Nolan's Dark Knight Batman trilogy – shows up for five minutes to give The Protagonist spying advice on steak and chips at a private gentleman's club in London to give.

The best clothes horse in the film is Elizabeth Debicki (pictured), who plays Andrei & # 39; s wife Kat and shows painfully perfect couture in a posh English auction house

The best clothes horse in the film is Elizabeth Debicki (pictured), who plays Andrei & # 39; s wife Kat and shows painfully perfect couture in a posh English auction house

He explains to him that his American Brooks Brothers suit doesn't mind in English society and offers to recommend a tailor.

"You Brits don't have a monopoly on snobbery," says The Protagonist. "No, but we have a controlling stake," says Caine's character, delivering the deathblow of fashion.

Speaking of tailoring, Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Andrei & # 39; s wife Kat, is the best clothes horse in the film and can show painfully perfect couture in a posh English auction house.

No wonder Debicki – who also starred on BBC's The Night Manager – was chosen to play Princess Diana in The Crown.

More from Kate Muir for the Daily Mail …

At 6ft 2in, Kat is a rampant English rose trapped in a marriage that takes coercive control to new heights of malice.

Nolan sometimes neglects the emotional heart of his films in his desire for breathtaking cinematography and grandiose action.

In Tenet he tries to create a moving core with Kat and her young son, who is used as a farmer in Andrei & # 39; s games.

But there's something incredible about the relationship. Debicki's character seems too intelligent for victims.

In addition, there is hardly any time to catch his breath, let alone invest in a relationship, while Tenet jumps around the world from India to Estonia, Norway to London with a stop on a superyacht moored in Italy.

For those of us who are currently unblocked and subject to new travel sanctions every week, it's exciting.

Even when I saw the opening scene, a cello showdown at the Kiev Opera, I wasn't thinking, “Oh my goodness! Terrorists with bombs! ", But" Wow! Thousands of people in one room … without masks! "

In fact, in the days of Covid-19, the film is picking up unintended responses.

Audiences will be amazed by the energy of the no-expense-spared action: a bullet-pumping bunker bust, a crash on a real Boeing 747 (that's one way to get rid of those retired jumbo jets), and amazing car chases that enter another dimension

Audiences will be amazed by the energy of the no-expense-spared action: a bullet-pumping bunker bust, a crash on a real Boeing 747 (that's one way to get rid of those retired jumbo jets), and amazing car chases that enter another dimension

"As far as I know, we are trying to prevent World War III," one scientist tells The Protagonist.

“Nuclear Holocaust?” He asks.

"No, one more thing …" she replies. At that point, I wanted to shout: "Global pandemic!"

You have to wear a face mask for two and a half hours in a popcorn-free auditorium – but Tenet is worth the hassle.

The film is the clever, exciting comeback that cinemas – and audiences – have been waiting for.

Tenet will be released on Wednesday

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