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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ is a bit much for these film critics

Dan Webster

If you’re up to driving over the Idaho to see a movie, you might be tempted to take in Christopher Nolan’s new film “Tenet.”

Then again, more than a few critics are saying that it’s not worth the time or money.

Let’s start with the views stated by my friend and "Movies 101" colleague, Nathan Weinbender, of the Pacific Northwest Inlander.

“(T)hese sorts of puzzle-box movies usually reveal themselves to be less complex than they initially appear, and the nuts and bolts of ‘Tenet’s’ story aren't too far removed from the stuff of a Roger Moore-era James Bond adventure. And maybe that's my problem: The movie throws a lot of Big Ideas and complicated theorems at us, but they're all in service of a plot that doesn't really have anything new or compelling to show us. In that sense, Nolan expends a whole lot of effort to merely go through the motions.”

But Nathan is hardly alone. Here are a few other reactions:

Kathleen Sachs, Chicago Reader: “The auteur doesn't show much growth in his most recent self-indulgent work.”

Anthony Lane, The New Yorker: “What strikes you is how determinedly bare of feeling it seems, even when emotional opportunities present themselves.”

Christina Newland, New York Magazine: “ ‘Tenet’ is a locked puzzle box with nothing inside.”

Of course, “Tenet” does have its defenders:

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: “A deadpan jeu d'esprit, a cerebral cadenza, a deadpan flourish of crazy implausibility - but supercharged with steroidal energy and imagination.”

As for me, I’m content to wait until theaters open in Washington. Or for “Tenet” to be available for streaming.

After all, so much streaming material, so little time.

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