COVID-19: Doctors vs. Tenet?
Interesting times we live in – just recently movie theaters started reopening and new Hollywood masterpieces began to hit the silver screen and right away I saw a news article with the title "Is Tenet worth the risk? Doctors say no. Theatres say please". I always wonder who are these mysterious "doctors" who are so fast to say "no" to anything that is fun? And I feel that you need a Second Opinion, because yours truly would definitely say "yes".
I am a movie goer – I love movies, I love theatres, I missed the atmosphere and the act of going there, let alone enjoying some great movies the way they are meant to be shown - on a large screen, with sound surround system that simply cannot be achieved at home theatres. I like the theatre snacks as unhealthy as they are – I love getting popcorn or nachos, and a drink, and munching on them while watching a movie. I'm a cinephile.
So why would I say "no" to going to a movie theatre?
We have reopened restaurants and patios, stores, gyms, all kinds of venues. I just enjoyed an absolutely fantastic Van Gogh exhibit in Toronto in a large room with close to a hundred people there. Properly distanced and wearing masks. So why can't we go to a theatre according to some doctors? We can maintain the distance, we can sanitize our hands, and wear masks in common areas. Frankly, I don't see any difference between a theatre and, say, a restaurant or a gym. The thing is that as doctors we are trained to never say that it's safe to do anything – all our education is revolving around risk factors, morbidity and mortality and we are almost hardwired to say "it's not 100% safe". As a scientist, I would say that I don't see any reason for not reopening the theatres as long as it's done in the same way as the rest of the reopenings. And I think that they should stop asking doctors questions like that as the answer will always be the same – "we are concerned about this and that". Ask epidemiologists and ask for evidence, not for their opinions.
Second Opinion: "Tenet"
And since I opened up about my movie passion, I would like to start a new series – I'll call it "Second Opinion" and in this series I will be talking about things I like – movies, videogames, computers, cars, motorcycles, and other things I am passionate about. These won't be professional reviews, of course, that's why I will call it the "second" opinion – I wouldn't be the first person to give you an opinion on these things. Let's start this series with a quick review of "Tenet".
I can't say that I was impressed much, but I still believe that it's worth watching. The movie was long, very confusing, and I was not able to truly appreciate the visuals. I know that some real critics, like Chris Stuckmann, whose opinion I value, would be amazed by Tenet's visuals, but to me they looked like playing a regular tape in reverse. Nevertheless, I will acknowledge that likely it was something difficult to do for a director, on technical level. Still, for a regular guy like me it was quite mundane.
Also, lots of people complained that the dialogues in the movie were hard to hear. They were, but while watching the movie I honestly thought that I couldn't get half of them because English is not my first language. Also, there was a couple talking just several meters away from me (God bless social distancing, they weren't too close) and it was annoying as hell. We need a movie police! But, it turns out, the sound was meant to be like that. I feel that Christopher Nolan just wanted us to focus on the visuals and not to pay too much attention to the dialogues. Also, I am cursed with the tendency to overthink things and I assume that a lot of people would just be happy to accept the plot while I was thinking about plot holes and logical fallacies. That usually takes fun away. At some point my brain refused to comprehend the plot and I just watched the last 30-40 minutes without thinking. And liked it much more, I must confess!
So, my verdict is – it is an "ok" movie, with a very twisted plot, which is hard to follow, but it's totally worth watching. And to answer the question of the day "was it worth watching in a theatre?" – Hell yeah! If you want to go to a theatre, go there and enjoy any movie you like as long as it's done safely! And this one was no better or worse than any other movie.
As always, I would like to remind you that this blog should not be taken as medical advice and that my opinions do not necessarily represent the official standing of regulatory, and public health authorities I belong to. At the same time, I believe that my points are valid, and I would like to encourage you to subscribe to this website, and to my YouTube channel. You are also always welcome to communicate with me via making comments, suggestions, and asking questions, either here, or on social media platforms.
Stay safe, strong, and healthy!
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