Personal Post: Why I’m Not Seeing Tenet when it hits UK Cinemas


It’s never easy being the man who sits at the back of auditorium with their arms firmly crossed and their head shaking when the rest of the room is in general agreement over a course of action. But alas, I must wear the party pooper hat today and perhaps for a considerable amount of time.

Through some miracle, Christopher Nolan’s high concept thriller, Tenet, has finally landed a UK release date (after numerous delays). In fact, it’s already ridden the review merry-go-round, had a soundtrack release announcement and bombarded the public with enough adverts to cement its definite release on Wednesday 26th August.

While it’s been a joy to bask in the normality of the movie release cycle after nearly six months, I’m afraid I cannot get on my bike or excitedly dubstep to my local cinema with a mask and hand sanitiser in tow. My primary reason for this is because I don’t feel safe returning to watch films on the big screen.

While I’m fairly young (late twenties) and keep healthy via indoor exercise, a good diet and maintaining a healthy weight, I cannot escape the reality that these choices are borne out of a longstanding health issue. Long story short: I’ve had two kidney transplants, which results in having a lower immunity and thus puts me at a greater risk of catching the virus.

The most terrifying aspect of COVID-19 is that it varies in its effects from person to person. Some shake it of like it’s the common cold and others can potentially be on life support fighting for their lives. And that’s not even to mention the lingering effects of the virus. With this in mind, I find that the risk is too great to venture out to the cinema to see Tenet.

But aside from that, I find there are other factors that have enforced my choice. I don’t presume to have a huge voice (in blogging terms) but nevertheless I feel it’s my duty to use my platform to inform with careful consideration (particularly these days). At the moment, it feels wrong to recommend or make a film seem appealing enough for someone to take a trip to the cinema.

At the same time, I’ve been in a privileged position to be able to work from home and I feel that it’s my responsibility with that benefit to maintain my livelihood in a time when that’s tough for a lot of people to do.

Aside from the virus creating a major health crisis, it also presents a fundamental tension between health and wealth. This can manifest on a personal level with someone potentially putting their health on the line (via going to work) to ensure monetary stability.

In my case, I do feel a slight tinge of guilt about not supporting cinemas (particularly independent ones) when they’ve been suffering from the lack of business due to the virus. Part of this comes for wanting to preserve a pastime that I adore partaking in. And another part is a sense of a top down view that it’s people’s civic duty to start fuelling the economy again, (even if it’s in the midst of a pandemic). But that’s a Russell Brand esque rant for another time.

However, my health takes priority. Plus, I do think there are genuine alternatives to supporting cinemas without visiting them via buying gift cards or memberships to use at a later date.

Above all, I think Matthew Buck aka Film Brain in his video- “Why I’m Not Returning to Cinemas” perfectly encapsulates why I don’t plan on seeing Tenet next week- “Holidays and Cinema trips are luxuries, they’re not necessities. They are privileges afforded to us by social stability… but, we don’t have that right now.”

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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