Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was a bold and noble experiment, even if it wasn’t a massively successful one. The filmmaker stuck to his guns about the mind-bending blockbuster releasing exclusively in theaters last summer, even when cinemas around the world were locked shut and gathering dust due to the effects of the pandemic.
While a global haul of $363 million is still good enough to rank as one of the highest-grossing Hollywood movies of the pandemic era behind only Fast & Furious 9, Godzilla vs. Kong and Black Widow, a $200 million budget and hefty marketing costs saw Tenet end up losing money for Warner Bros. and place another crack in the facade of the relationship between Nolan and the studio, which exacerbated when he blasted the decision to send every 2021 release to HBO Max day-and-date.
A Rotten Tomatoes score of 70% also gives Tenet the unwanted distinction of being Nolan’s lowest-rated film on the aggregation site, while the mechanics of time inversion and convoluted plotting have generated plenty of debate and discussion. One person who ironically doesn’t have the time to recap the narrative over and over again is star John David Washington, who admitted in a new interview that he simply pretends to forget what happened as opposed to explaining it in perpetuity.
“And I have the luxury of time, which I can say, ‘Oh, you know, I forgot. You know what? I forgot. You should have asked me a couple months ago. I’ve done forgotten. I’ve moved on. I’ve moved on’. It’s fun. That’s what he does. He sets it up to for multiple viewings, and this was no different.”
That’s a smart move on the leading man’s part, when few directors in Hollywood have their work dissected and analyzed as closely as Christopher Nolan. Washington did the best he could with a relatively underwritten and one-note character who wasn’t even given the benefit of a name beyond The Protagonist, but at least his performance in Tenet has sent him flying up the Hollywood ladder in the aftermath.