DannyGReviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hard to give an objective review since I'm such a Nolan fanboy that I'm convinced every movie he's made was made specifically for me. I always support Nolan. That dude's got my number. And this is probably the most Nolan movie Christopher Nolan has ever Nolan-ed. This is both this film's biggest strength and its Achilles' heel - I'm simply blown away by the pure spectacle of it all, and Nolan's commitment to show-stopping set pieces and practical effects is unparalleled, but the plot is so vigorously labyrinthian that it quite literally makes your brain do a full factory reset. Does this speak to a myriad of flaws present with Nolan's script? YES. Is the movie still insanely watchable despite your understanding of what's going on? DOUBLE YES.
It's funny how both "Tenet" and "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" were released the same week. Both are practically indecipherable films, more so divisive due to their indecipherable nature. It seems like "Tenet" is receiving more flack than "ITOET" because, when dissected, one finds out that it doesn't REALLY have anything profound to say. But the thing is, that's perfectly fine!! You don't need to have mighty themes or memorable messages in a James Bond movie! And yes, as many other people have already stated, this IS a James Bond movie, just with a sci-fi twist that only a crazy son-of-a-bitch like Nolan could provide. For YEARS, everyone (myself included) has been saying that Nolan should direct a Bond film, well, it has finally arrived! HOW could Nolan ever restrain himself, especially since Warner Bros has been giving him well-deserved blank checks for every film post-"The Dark Knight."
I saw this at a drive-in, so the conditions weren't ideal, but even then I was still blown away by Hoyte Van Hoytema's cinematography. I may never forgive that man for making "Spectre" look like a urine-stained piece of concrete (yes that movie had other problems too), but I hope he gets an Oscar nod for his work here, ESPECIALLY after being snubbed for "Ad Astra" last year. And Ludwig Göransson's score was just *chef's kiss*. I may never forgive that man stealing the Oscar from Nicholas Britell in 2019, but his "Tenet" score absolutely SLAPPED in the speakers of my 2011 Subaru Legacy.
Am I being a bit generous with my rating? Yes. But every time I try to give it a 3.5/5 I remember the fact that Nolan drove a 747 into a building simply because he could. Like, he most likely had that idea and wrote an entire set-piece AROUND it. Normally that would be idiotic, but Nolan is such a master at spectacle it becomes brilliant beyond belief. Some men just want to watch the would burn, while others just want to watch Nolan play in the sandbox.