Action, brainpower and music that makes your heart thump. Don’t miss the terrific Tenet – so good I watched it twice

Cinema review by Amy, age 16, of The King Alfred School Academy

Tenet is a UK-US collaboration film from Warner Bros. and Syncopy Inc. following an unnamed protagonist in his effort to prevent World War Three. 

This action-thriller spy-fi film, directed by Christopher Nolan, attempts many filming techniques that haven’t been used in such abundance before.

I loved it so much – I watched it twice.

I watched this film at the Ritz Cinema in Burnham-On-Sea, which is a small, independent cinema that offers an amazing value for money. At only £4 for a ticket, how can you say no? The seats are comfortable, the surround sound is on point, the popcorn is moreish and the members of staff are polite and pleasant to talk to. I’ve been going to the Ritz Cinema for almost a decade now and I’ve never been disappointed or had a reason to go anywhere else.

It is of my understanding that The Ritz Cinema is struggling after losing so many customers during the pandemic but they are still making the effort to show their films, even if there is only one person in a showing. I don’t know what the families of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge would do without the Ritz Cinema so I implore you to go see a film there and buy lots of popcorn and snacks to support them. Let’s keep our wonderful little cinema up and running.

Christopher Nolan’s newest film

With his newest film, Tenet, Christopher Nolan tried to revolutionise the spy genre of films, and I have to say he went above and beyond to achieve it. With the use of reverse filming, without any green screening, and on location filming in Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, Denmark, California, London and Hampshire, Christopher Nolan created an alternate reality to wow anyone from thrill-seekers to spy-fi nerds.

Inversion

There is no shortage of time travel sci-fi content in the world already, but Tenet brings a whole new type of time travel to the sci-fi genre; inversion.

Instead of moving to a different time and continuing to move forward in time, inversion simply inverts the direction in time of an object or person so that they begin to move backwards through time. 

Not only does it invert the direction in time but it also changes the object or person’s interactions with the world; “When you run, the wind will be at your back”, and when you encounter fire, you feel ice. 

Following the idea of inversion when first watching the film really messes with your head, and adds a new dimension to watching and trying to understand the film. Many times I had to go through it in my head to work out how something happened but I see this as a good thing because it engaged my brain and made me concentrate more. I found that it made the film more enjoyable but this may not be the case for everyone.

Special effects

Being a film about inversion, many scenes were filmed and then reversed in editing, in order to get the effect of moving backwards through time. This would be challenging in normal circumstances to get a quality result, but try filming a scene with one inverted character and one non-inverted character. If you think wrapping your head around inversion is hard, try wrapping your head around filming inversion. 

“So we had to learn how to catch a punch, throw a punch, block a punch and then whatever the opposite of blocking a punch is.  It was very ‘new wave action cinema’. It’s never been done before and it was exciting to know that these moves are basically … tailored for this film, specifically.”

I can’t imagine the hours of choreography practice they had to put in to look like they were fighting backwards. Some scenes had to be filmed twice to cut together the backwards and forwards time frames and make the film look smooth. 

Is the 12A rating right?

I sadly couldn’t find the exact rating criteria for 12A films so this will be based off of my own opinion.

I wouldn’t have been able to happily watch this film at the age of 12, and I think the same applies to many other children, but I think 15 as a minimum age might be too old, so I will just give the rundown of potentially unsuitable for children moments and let parents decide.

Swear words are not common in this film but two swear words were said, both in the same scene (and they were completely necessary for the effect given in that scene).

There is a lot of violence, and potentially distressing moments in fights, but there is minimal blood and no gore. As someone who hates gore of any kind, I was completely fine with it.

Some concepts are potentially distressing for children and pre-teens such as people being hurt in certain ways.

There are some particularly loud moments and some suspense, which could make you jump. If you are extremely sensitive to suspense, you might not like the film, but I am often sensitive to suspense and I was fine, in fact I loved many of the suspenseful parts.

Overall, this film is hard to give an age rating to but I wouldn’t limit it to 15 minimum. The parent or guardian should make sure they know the child well before committing to taking them to this film.

Conclusion

Overall, I loved this film. I would rate it very highly, and I’ll be buying the DVD when it comes out for sure (although nothing could beat seeing it in the cinema). Action, brainpower and music that makes your heart thump. I highly recommend this film, and I highly recommend the Ritz Cinema. Did either of them disappoint? “Certainly not!”

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