I’ve been a fan of Christopher Nolan since I semi-accidentally saw Following and was won over by the fresh take on storytelling and delivering ideas in film. Then came Memento, and despite a certain backlash, that was a film that was sci-fi (even though it isn’t exactly) at its best. The taking of a strange, semi-impossible circumstance to talk about reality and deliver characters with real depth. Through Batman Begins and The Prestige, he just kept getting better, and his stories had purpose, clarity, and were wicked fun.
With the popularity of his films, and the recognition he’d received, he could write his own ticket, get massive budgets, and nothing would really matter anymore, because he’d turn a profit no matter what he made. The Dark Knight was serviceable and obviously managed an amazing performance by Heath Ledger, but it was already drifting away from having much to do with Batman. Inception had a lot to sell it, including Nolan, but he was more interested in discovering wild, new ways to deliver visuals than whether the story was especially interesting. The popcorn ride was perhaps fun enough, but now that it’s over, I don’t see revisiting it. The Dark Knight Rises was all subtext, and frankly, might as well have been about some other, new superhero. Interstellar barely made its massive budget back domestically, and was all goofy shtick in service to more visual “magic.” Dunkirk, likewise, was an effort to film things in new ways and get visuals on screen, as opposed to any focus on the story of the battle, or the fairy tale about the boy who couldn’t die.
With your memory of Nolan’s work refreshed, his latest, Tenet, has released a trailer that doesn’t give you a ton of information, but sets the stage for knowing where you are. If Interstellar and Inception were your favorite Nolan films, and you’re mostly looking for really weird shit to happen, it looks like you may have a new favorite headed your way. If not, well, there’s still hope, and Nolan could easily pull something awesome together, but it’s hard to feel especially confident about it.
John David Washington stars as an agent of some sort who is fighting for the survival of the world, apparently armed largely with the word, “Tenet,” whatever that word and/or being so armed might mean.
The premise involves the exploration of something that is not exactly time travel, but “Inversion,” which is apparently travelling backward in time, but is not actually travelling in time… or something. Obviously, the nature of what’s going on isn’t going to be revealed, or completely accurately revealed, in the trailer, but some wacky time stuff is going on.
If nothing else, it does pretty legitimately make for awesome car chases.
The cast also includes Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, with Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.
Check it out below. The film is currently slated for release on July 17th.