After a stint gone awry at an opera house, the CIA’s protagonist (John David Washington) is captured and tortured by sinister people. Hours later, with the last of his strength, he manages to swallow a suicide pill. But he doesn’t wake up in heaven afterwards, but on a ship. There he is entrusted with a new mission by a contact (Martin Donovan). The protagonist is assigned to the Russian arms dealer Andrei Setor (Kenneth Branagh). The agent quickly realizes that the laws of time don’t seem to apply to his latest assignment.
Tenet is a monster of a movie. The action is imposing and impressive, but the exact rules of time under which the game is played remain in the dark for a long time due to the opaque spy thriller genre. Once they’re explained, it’s done more casually, as Nolan cranks the pacing from the start to fit it all into a two-and-a-half hour spectacle. This can be overwhelming, but the film will certainly gain with repeated viewings. One thing is certain: There has never been a blockbuster like Tenet – in terms of sheer size and complexity.