There’s a trend happening on Tiktok right now that’s like “Less of this, more of this” and it’s usually about home décor. I want to bring to this to the film world.
Today I will be asking you to pay less attention to Tenet (2020) and to pay more attention The Prestige (2006). Both of these films are by Christopher Nolan.
Tenet is a pretty cool idea for a film. It’s like a time travel spy movie. It’s not executed well though. The story is extremely hard to digest. I like how the movie is told like a palindrome (a word that is the same as it is backwards i.e. the title of the film) it’s not fun to watch and has little re-watch value.
The Prestige now, ho ho! You’re in for a treat. If you read this movie’s blurb it’ll probably say something like “two magicians battle it out to see who can do the best magic trick after one swears revenge on the other”. This movie is about the magic of cinema. How movies are technology that perform magic tricks that teleport you to another world. You know it’s all fake, “but that’s the whole point. You want to be fooled”.
The Prestige is an important film because of what it has to say films. What does Tenet have to say? That there’s still plenty of ways we can play with how movies are told? Yes, doesn’t matter if you can’t execute the idea well though.
The Prestige’s sound is clear, has tiny hints that add to the suspense like a ticking clock and doesn’t have speed boats playing over important dialogue.
I don’t care if “that’s the point”. If the sound takes away from the film take it out.
The acting in The Prestige is SUPERB. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale’s range from being broken down failures to hungry tigers unleashed from their cage in unreal. They make me feel what they’re feeling.
I actually can’t tell if Robert Pattinson and John David Washington are doing a bad job in Tenet’s story because it’s so hard to follow. The actors just seem like they’re along for the ride and are just acting appropriately when certain situations arise i.e Look hurt. You’ve just been in a car crash and the bad guy got away.
The Prestige executes it’s idea will and its fun to watch. Tenet is an ambitious idea but is ultimately an emotionally empty spectacle.