Sunday, January 24, 2021

Tenet and Further Meditations on a 4-D War

I saw Tenet last night, and I thought it was good, but I am typically a fan of Nolan's work. If you aren't I can't say you would like this one more than the others. It most resembles Inception with a plot involving a degree of spy fiction doings, overlaid with a science fictional conceit that is a strong, visual representation.

The film underscores nicely--and it's something I've talked about here before (this post is really just a reinforcement of those ideas, so check it out)--is how time travel/manipulation is how a temporal cold war provides a great set up for espionage paranoia. Shifts in allegiance and betrayal can have retrospective as well as prospective effects, and individuals changing over time can bring them in direct conflict with themselves in a very literal way. Your worst enemy could indeed be yourself.

Futility and fatalism, sometimes and aspect of spy stories, are played up in this sort of setting. If the best case scenario is that the world doesn't change drastically, then the protagonists are always stuck fighting for the status quo, no matter what the personal cost.

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