Hunter ᴴᴰ’s review published on Letterboxd:
So Nolan it hurts.
Watching Michael Caine inaudibly mumble with a mouthful of food is high up there on my favorite cinematic moments of the year.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Or is it? Tenet immediately hooked me with building tension by throwing the audience straight into the action. He knows what the audience came for and playing with the idea of stripping characters to a basic form in a self aware way. This seems like a recurring formula for Christopher Nolan, but damn if it didn’t work in engaging me with shameless fun and Nolan’sbig picture. I’m just not sure how worth the watch becomes making the film feel very surface level and shallow. There's always an aspect of alternating the audience in confusion and concepts but I'm having fun so who cares. This is a big bombastic fun action film that's not really supposed to be taken seriously. But sometimes I want films like that so it succeeds. I’m conflicted due me wanting to give credit to practical filmmaking and action rather computer but didn't I’m cut deeper than that overall in the end.
Only 260 visual effect shots. I repeat only 260! The technical film making in Tenet is spectacular. Nolan pulls all the punches in the intellectual action movie to save audiences from our reality that feels ever closer to the end of the world. I would even say add it to the list of greatest car chase scenes ever. I actually felt physically tense with my palms sweating during some of them. And that rarely happens to me anymore, let alone from a car chase. That might lead into one of my major issues. The visuals of practical effects, locations, and lighting made me feel way more than the characters or acting could ever. Although, Kenneth Branagh yelling made me sink down in my seat a bit. So much terrifying rage! Washington and Pattinson definitely look the part as leading men. I’m not sure if their chemistry or their relationship arc were effective enough for the kind of predictable ending emotional beats. Kay was pretty and a mom and that’s about it. I chuckled out loud at how many times she said blankly that she was a mom. Of course this is done on purpose in Nolan’s awareness and it doesn't because I don't think anyone comes into a Nolan film for deep characters. That's interesting to me that he’s playing around with not caring about characters and more of generalized cogs for ideas.
Having a movie be so mechanic focused and not diluting it with humanity is kind of bad ass. Although the stakes feel so high and vague that it no longer holds any real meaningful stake.
The conceptual thought put into the score was nice. The score is a guiding force in narrative for me and helped me understand the movie a little better.
I can forgive not hearing some of the dialogue because I’m probably too dumb to even know exactly what they are talking about. But I think I understood most of the dialogue and plot line. I think? Well except for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s accent. Subtitles please.
It did meet all my expectations. It didn’t exceed them as much. That’s probably because I thought I figured the movies secrets out, but really I haven’t scratched the surface. Or maybe this is it. Just Nolan stripping every piece of storytelling to bare minimum. Kind of cheeky if you ask me to be so blant with all the things everyone complains about you. Tenet is a visual action spectacle and a logical puzzle of filmmaking talent that is sadly bland. Not as cool as I think he thinks it is.
.struh ti naloN oS