Jakob Mathews’s review published on Letterboxd:
My ears are basically begging for me to put them out of their misery, but I think it was ultimately worth it.
Tenet is nuts. In both scale, premise, and execution. So much in fact that it spends most of its time explaining its ambitious concept instead of developing thoroughly interesting characters, but at the same time, Nolan’s films bring immense theatricality and scale and Tenet brings it in that department. The action sequences and the overall visual nature of this film are absolutely stunning and mind-blowing. He’s been pretty clear that he’ll make a movie entirely practical if he can and from the looks of it, most of this film is. That being said, the third act is so crazy that I would like to see a breakdown of the effects now, or I’m going to lose it.
The overall look, style, music did it for me and I was pretty entertained from those aspects, but the first half took quite a bit of time for me to get invested. Not that I was bored, but I couldn’t find a reason to care about the plot or what was happening, because it’s such a rich concept that it was taking me a second to catch up. Once a certain scene hits involving specific colors, I was in for the rest of the runtime, easily. While I enjoyed the score quite a bit on its own, the film’s sound mixing almost killed it. DO NOT see this film in Dolby or IMAX without ear plugs; the opening ten minutes were so loud and explosive that I almost walked out. In typical Nolan fashion, the sound mixing is not good ever-so obnoxious; dialogue goes by inaudibly to a point where I just gave up putting the pieces together.
Despite that, I enjoyed Tenet. It’s not my favorite Nolan by a pretty decent margin, but it’s ambitious and has an aggressively fresh story to tell. Say what you will about him, but I’m glad that so tired this complex and layered are being marketed to bigger artists. Even if the stories being told are too massive for their own good.