Don't Worry, Quentin Tarantino Didn't Understand Tenet Either

Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" was big, ambitious, and also kind of confusing. It didn't help that the sound was mixed in such a way that it was difficult to understand what the heck everyone was saying. If you were perplexed by Nolan's time-bending action pic, don't fret – you're in good company. During a recent podcast appearance, Quentin Tarantino revealed that the film confused him and that he would probably be better served by checking it out again. Just call him Quentenet Tenetino! Or don't! Whatever!

We Live in a Twilight World (Where Quentin Tarantino Doesn't Understand Tenet)

Oh, "Tenet," you beautiful tropical fish. Christopher Nolan's most recent movie had a lot of attention because there was a hope that the flick might "save movie theaters" during the pandemic. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, although the film was by no means a flop. But the reaction to "Tenet" was a bit mixed when it arrived, with many criticizing the film's deliberately obtuse plotting and muddy sound mix. I'm a Nolan fan, but I was a little underwhelmed when I first saw the film. However, I've since revisited it at home, with subtitles on, and I've come around to loving it, in a weird way. I don't think it's one of Nolan's best films, but I genuinely enjoy the atmosphere of the thing, and there are several set pieces that are pretty damn great. However, I will still admit that the film is a touch confusing, probably by design. 

During an appearance on the ReelBlend podcast, Quentin Tarantino – who previously named Nolan's "Dunkirk" as his second-favorite film of the 2010s – revealed that he, too, was befuddled by Nolan's creation. "I think I need to see it again," Tarantino said, laughing. Sadly, Tarantino didn't offer much more insight into his thoughts on "Tenet," but it's clear that the film didn't thrill him the same way as Nolan's "Dunkirk." 

When it comes to "Dunkirk," Tarantino previously said: 

"I liked the movie, but the spectacle almost numbed me to the experience. I don't think I felt anything emotional. I was awed by it. But I didn't know what I was awed by ... it wasn't until the third time that I could see past the spectacle and into the people the story is about. I finally could see through the trees a little bit."

It sounds like multiple views of "Dunkirk" made Tarantino truly appreciate that film, and perhaps the same will be the same for "Tenet." Or not. 

Is Tenet Really That Confusing?

So is "Tenet" really so damn confusing? I honestly think a second viewing would clear a lot of things up for people – it certainly helped me. To be fair, the movie is big, loud, and full of a twisting, bending narrative that involves time travel (or inversion, as everyone calls it in the movie). That sort of set-up is bound to throw folks for a loop, and when you add in the frequently inaudible dialogue, things just get murkier. 

Nolan, to his credit, clearly understood that. So much so that he made sure to have a character in the film say, "Don't try to understand it. Feel it." That may sound like a bit of a cop-out, and perhaps it is. But I also think that philosophy holds true for the film itself. "Tenet" is a movie that doesn't need to be fully comprehended; you just need to sit back and enjoy the spectacle-filled ride Nolan wants to take you on. If that's not your cup of tea, that's perfectly fine. But I do think time will be kind to "Tenet."