Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
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I have decided that I am stuck on this score for a reason. Tenet almost makes it to that next level for me, and it’s a fascinating film to think about, but it couldn’t quite come together to hit those massive expectations. The concept of time inversion makes this one difficult to process, and we are constantly asking ourselves questions throughout the run-time, but watching this multiple times has given me peace of mind when it comes to many of these questions. The seeds planted are so strategic, and I caught even more of them on this third watch. The best part about this viewing was seeing my brother’s reaction. I had to get him prepared for it mentally, but when certain moments happened throughout (red & blue, airport, third act), watching his eyes light up was incredible. I have also seen it in three different types of theaters, and all three held similar sound issues. Again, I don’t mind it being difficult to understand with a mask on, and I was finally able to make what they said this time in a few scenes, but that boat scene was a mess. There is no excuse to muffle the voices like that.
The opera introduction has to be one of the best looking and sounding sequences of the year, but I’m still trying to figure out why that scene is integral to the plot. I understand it introduces a few “things,” but we needed more of an explanation there. I am (now) more on the side of the argument that states Nolan may have made it a bit too difficult to piece this story together for its own good, but I’m also doubling down on the overall idea of the plot being brilliant. To utilize this concept the way that he did (and to bring the story back around in such an expert way) is masterful. He needed to be a bit more subtle, and it’s unfortunate that it couldn’t quite hit what we expect from him, but part of me saw his vision. He wanted to bring his version of Bond to life with a SciFi twist, and he placed clues throughout to allow us to bring it all home in our heads. It almost forces the audience to see it again, and it’s unfortunate that some will not because it is the kind of film that will grow on some. Will I see it again in theaters? Possibly, as I’m just fascinated with this film. It is a telling sign that every rewatch has (at least) answered one question, but I am comfortable with my original score for the time being. I’m also interested to see how this hits at home without the theatrical experience (which will absolutely take away from it).
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