Thomas’s review published on Letterboxd:
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW! - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Tenet is the latest Christopher Nolan film to release, aiming to bring a return back to cinemas. It follows our Protagonist, as they are armed with only one word – Tenet – and is fighting for the survival of the entire world through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Nolan 110% made the right choice holding out for a theatrical release on this, I couldn't imagine this one coming out as a VOD Release. As a film, there's a few things I want to talk about - The Sound, Script and the Action/Filmmaking. For spoilers sake I won't talk about the plot. I'd like to keep this short, but this review has to be longer than my usual ones.
Ok, lets talk about Sound. The sound was for the most part well done. The cinema was often shaking, which I really found enjoyment in, having been out of one for months. I'm pretty sure today marks 5 months since I last went to a cinema, I saw 'Onward'. The soundtrack and music from Travis Scott was done well, this time around, Nolan was without Hans Zimmer, but the soundtrack still worked for what Nolan was going for. Although the soundtrack was good, one of my main issues with the film comes with it's sound mixing. Primarily early on, there are several scenes where the soundtrack is too loud, or a character is wearing a mask and the dialogue is hard to hear, which really dropped my score, as it's very hard to hear the characters, and if you may miss out on hearing important plot points. I definitely noticed this early on, as I missed some plot points and was a bit confused. At first, I wasn't sure if this was just my cinema that was the problem, but after talking to some others and reading some reviews, it seems like a common problem across all cinemas. I really hope they fix this up for the American release by doing a quick Sound Mix.
Let's get onto the Script. I really enjoyed the writing for the most part, and surprisingly I was laughing at the dialogue. Nolan wrote this, and he wrote it quite well. I often agree with the complaint with Nolan films, that Nolan sometimes writes his films to be more complicated than they truly are, and this is somewhat in play in this one. The film is quite dialogue heavy, and you have to pay quite close attention. If you do so, there are some payoffs later in the film, you could say Nolan rewards you for doing so. At it's core, Tenet's concept is mind bending and confusing to start with. They try to explain the concept, and they try their best to do it, but I'm still confused a little by the concept, which warrants a second watch which I really want to do. Of course there is still the issue of the sound mixing which I didn't hear some of the dialogue clearly so I couldn't fully grasp the film's dialogue.
Action/Filmmaking Time. I really enjoyed the Action Scenes and how Nolan filmed them, and they are probably the highlight of the entire film for me. There is one scene in the middle of the film which is easily the highlight of the film for me. As a film student, I really loved how Nolan filmed this one as a whole with the whole Time Inversion concept. It was really done well from a filmmaking standpoint and I was often amazed with some of the shots and I'm really intrigued to see how they were pulled off.
Let's wrap this up. In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed Tenet. I definitely have a lot of issues when it comes to this film, and it definitely is one of my lesser favourite Nolan films. It's heavily outweighed by films such as 'Interstellar', 'The Dark Knight', 'Inception', 'Batman Begins' and 'The Prestige'. In terms of ranking it in 2020, it definitely goes high. As of now, it just makes #1 by a tad over 'Palm Springs' but I know I have to check this out again to certify my ranking. Tenet is well worth the wait, and it's a great film to return to cinemas with. Don't listen to the reviews, make your own opinion. Go check out Tenet when it releases in your city!