Tenet, the new Christopher Nolan movie finally out on VOD and Blu-Ray, is hard to follow. And Nolan is totally fine with that.
Home viewers will have some advantages that theatrical viewers didn’t — they can turn on closed-captioning to follow dialogue swallowed by the cascades of music and noise in the film. And they can rewind… kind of like the characters in the movie can, sort of.
Nolan knows his movies are dense with information, and that some of his dialogue is obfuscated by sound and prominent characters wearing masks. And to borrow from his version of The Joker, in The Dark Knight:
“It’s all… part… of the plan.”
As the Tenet trailer details, the film stars John David Washington as a government agent who is sent on a mission involving time, to prevent a horrific event. Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh and Elizabeth Debicki also star.
Nolan told NPR’s All Things Considered in an interview this week:
“The interesting thing in movies is, you know, looking at the thriller genre in particular, you’re not meant to understand every single aspect. You’re meant to go on the journey, pass through the maze, understand the things you need to understand for the stakes of the scene you’re in, and then you get to the end of the movie and you’ve been on a journey and you understand how you got there. That’s the key.”
Be honest: Did anyone understand Inception the first time? Nolan knows you might be watching his movies twice, or three times, and likes that idea.
He continued in his All Things Considered interview: “The idea that you’d watch a large-scale studio blockbuster and come out feeling like maybe there are things I didn’t understand — that I should go back and take a look at or whatever — I think that’s kind of fun.”
He concluded: “My job as a filmmaker is to make sure that the first time you see the movie, you are entertained and you are gripped and that, you can’t lose sight of.”
Tenet, like almost all of Nolan’s movies, deals with time. And while we won’t spoil anything beyond that, it obviously benefits from paying close attention and repeat viewings. Unless of course you aren’t entertained and gripped enough by the first viewing to invest your irreversible time in a second and third.
Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan, is now available on VOD and Blu-Ray.