Ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
Haha time go vroom!
But in all seriousness, Tenet is so, so fucking pretentious, and that’s what I love about it. It is full-blasted Nolan, in all his idiosyncrasies, in all his liberation, in all his IMAX perf 15/70mm, full volume, experimental-sound vision, and what a vision it is to behold. It’s so confident and bold, manufactured by a director at the peak of both his career and his talents - a marvel of a combo.
Whilst not intimate, Tenet flares with warmth beyond its cold exterior of its story. Rather than intimacy - as utilised in Interstellar - Nolan goes for a more sentimental approach that works in generality more than in specificity. There is evident emotion displayed in its characters - from The Protagonist’s disorientation of being thrown into a world of secrecy, this coldness being a key to his relationship with Kat in truly understanding her motives and in his trusting of Neil, in his warmth towards saving those around him - but subtly. Yet, narratively, beyond its stark exterior, Tenet excels in the warm hope it entrusts in humanity and the prospect of being human - defined by our inherent flaws.
It’s amazing how Chris embraces both sides of his strengths in such vivid extremes - Tenet is fully embracing as both an ode to humanity and emotionality but also as a love letter to the magnificent awe and colossal wonder of theatricality and blockbuster filmmaking. It also features one heck of an opening, diving head first into the action of a world unknown, and it doesn’t care for the audience to stop for any amount of time to make sense of what is going on, rather driving the story naturally with The Protagonist’s own realisation of the world around him; a big essential to making the big, lengthy exposition work, as it’s wholly natural to the story, working in sync with the characters.
Posterity, and further than that, but also behind that, Tenet is just genius, in its embrace of time loops, physics and not giving a shit about us as an audience, because in that not only does it form top-tier, thrilling entertainment, but also cinematic filmmaking and storytelling of an entirely high caliber. Tenet is impenetrable as a typical Nolan work that so expertly blends the blockbuster with the riches of non-blockbuster filmmaking (as tattled in the mainstream), but it really is just a unison of craft, narrative and devotion unlike any other - stunts, sets, the entire faculty of the film from how it functions in its story to how the story works in essence of Nolan’s labyrinthine concepts, and how out of those two are the formation of themes diving deeper into emotionality - its the typical Chris Nolan formula of emotion and entertainment and it works every goddamn time, and Tenet feels like the cherry on top of his filmography.
It’s all really just cowboy shit - best of 2020.