There’s a point in Tenet in which Kenneth Branagh’s evil Russian arms dealer beats an unfortunate mook to death with a gold bar. It feels like a metaphor for the whole film. Death by excess. Too much of a good thing. Too many exotic locales. Too many clever (but, on reflection, not that clever) ideas. Too many beautiful actors, but not enough interesting characters.
Too much self-confidence, perhaps; the whole exercise could have benefited from director Christopher Nolan having someone on hand to occasionally tell him to calm the farm. You could argue that he’s earned the right to work unfettered. From 1998’s Following to 2017’s Dunkirk, he hadn’t made a bad film. Still, nothing lasts forever. So now Tenet is here to show that even the revered director of the Dark Knight Trilogy has his off days. Someone get the Emperor some pants; he looks chilly.