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New Escapist Video! On the Tenets of “TENET”…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with every second Monday article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, given that TENET is now available to stream in the United States and around the world, it seemed like a good time to take a look at Christopher Nolan’s latest. In particular, a look how the themes of TENET resonate with other films in Nolan’s filmography, from Memento to The Prestige to Inception to Interstellar.

New Escapist Column! On the Tenets of TENET…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With TENET now on streaming, it seemed like a good time to dive into the film’s position within Christopher Nolan’s filmography.

Most discussions of Nolan’s filmography focus on the director’s obsession with time, and TENET makes sense in that context. However, the film also ties into more existential anxieties that simmer through Nolan’s body of work, in particular the question of reality actually is and how best to respond to a world that can fundamentally chaotic, hostile and unknowable. TENET deals this this theme, confronting its audience and its characters with a reality that appears to be unraveling.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

 

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “TENET and 2020’s Not-busters”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Lee Murkey for the fifteenth episode of the year, for a discussion looking at the not-busters of the pandemic era, particularly Russell Crowe’s road rage thriller Unhinged and Christopher Nolan’s TENET.

You can listen to back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

228. Interstellar (#29)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Andy Hazel, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

Cooper is a former astronaut who has resigned himself to life on a farm, raising his two children Tom and Murph. However, when the fates align to send Cooper back out into space, he finds himself faced with the terrible choice to leave his kids behind with no idea of when – or even if – he might return.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 29th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “The Devil All the Time, Antebellum, Mandalorian, and Pushbacks”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Bob Chipman for the fourth episode, primarily discussing The Devil All the Time, Antebellum, the trailer for the second season of The Mandalorian, and the changes to the release schedule after the releases of TENET and Mulan.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Column! On Kat as the Emotional Heart of “TENET”…

I published a new piece at The Escapist on Sunday. With the release of TENET, Christopher Nolan has been subject to the familiar criticisms of his work: that he is humourless, cold, emotionless. However, these criticisms miss the fact that Nolan’s films are often underpinned by deep reservoirs of emotion.

Elizabeth Debicki’s Katherine Barton is the beating heart of TENET. She also represents a clear evolution of how Nolan writes female characters. If TENET is a James Bond pastiche, than Kat is introduced as a disposable love interest – the character that the hero seduces to get closer to the villain, and is ultimately killed for her betrayal. She is also positioned in Nolan’s filmography so as to suggest one of Nolan’s “dead wives.”

However, as the film progresses, Kat becomes the emotional protagonist of TENET. It is her story that drives TENET. More than that, she assumes the narrative space that is usually reserved for Nolan’s male protagonists like Cooper in Interstellar and Cobb in Inception: that of a parent fighting desperately to be reunited with their lost children. As such, Kat is a fascinating character in Nolan’s filmography, both a deconstruction of the way that Nolan writes his women characters and a clear step forward.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Interstellar”, “TENET” and the Competing Visions of the Future…

I published a new piece at The Escapist earlier today. With the release of TENET, it seemed worth taking a look at some of the core themes of the film.

TENET has most frequently been discussed in the context of its relationship to Inception, but it is perhaps most interesting to discuss in relation to Interstellar. Both of those films are about the relationship between the present and the future, exploring the dynamic between mankind and a projected future version of themselves. Interstellar is a story about the hope held by the future, but TENET offers a more cynical perspective.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Chadwick Boseman And Broken Time”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Bob Chipman for the second episode, primarily discussing the passing of Chadwick Boseman and the summer of broken time typified by TENET, i’m thinking of ending things, Palm Springs and Bill & Ted Face the Music.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Review! “TENET”

I have actually already reviewed TENET for this blog. However, given the state of the pandemic in the United States, The Escapist did not feel comfortable asking its writers to attend cinema screenings. As I am based in a country that is dealing with the crisis (relatively) well, I have stepped into the gap to provide written reviews for movies not receiving a streaming release.

This is unlikely to be a long-term dynamic, but I was flattered at the invitation and was happy to substitute in for this particular situation. This is a very unusual time. The review is much more conventional and concise than the reviews on this site, and even has a numerical score attached. I feel like a proper film critic. You can read the review here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “TENET” and the Return of the Discourse…

I published a new piece at The Escapist earlier today. With the release of TENET bringing life back to American multiplexes next week, it also seems to be resurrecting “the discourse.”

TENET is the first major theatrical release of the summer. It is the first such release since Birds of Prey. There have been direct-to-video releases like Hamilton or Greyhound or Palm Springs. However, none of these have managed to catch the conversation in a way that a big theatrical release does. For the first time in almost half a year, there is a movie that strangers can shout at one another about on the internet. TENET has not even been released in American cinemas, but it is already generating highly charged shouting matches.

This is simply how people talk about films these days, with intensely impassioned positions and aggressive stances, stakes on the moral high ground and narratives predetermined. In hindsight, the six months without a release large enough to spark such online debate, the pandemic offered something of a reprieve from the shouting and the screaming. I missed cinemas, but I did not miss “the discourse.”

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.