Tenet (2020)

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Armed with only one word - Tenet - and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

Of all the turn-of-the-millennium indie featherweights who’ve become tentpole-movie titans, Nolan is the most prone to daredevil leaps of faith in his own showmanship, as well as his audience’s cognitive abilities. He hinges his epics on impossibly complex premises—teleportation; subconscious espionage; spelunking through black holes—and offers as compensation the kind of check-your-brains-at-the-door spectacle associated with less cerebral moviemakers. By successfully leveraging these two imperatives against one another, Nolan has become a brand-name filmmaker—albeit one whose po-faced professionalism skirts self-parody. […] Perhaps the most sympathetic way to frame Tenet is as Nolan’s stab at a 007 entry—filtered, naturally, through an inescapable fixation on structural gamesmanship that wouldn’t fit in Bond’s linear universe. […] In Inception, the sight of rival factions clashing in a snowy void was something straight out of a first-person shooter video game. In Tenet, the same configuration is calibrated not for excitement, but fatigue and even tragedy, an evocation of an eternal struggle where the difficulty of discerning the combatants or their motivations is arguably part of the point.

Adam Nayman (The Ringer)