Tosin🍿’s review published on Letterboxd:
“What's happened happened. Which is an expression of faith in the mechanics of the world.” - Neil
In a world where watching cinematic blockbusters is tantamount to risking ones life due to a global pandemic, I decided to wait to watch this at home. I’ve waited and waited, and Yes it was worth the wait. Tenet was so nice, I had to watch it twice in one sitting.
It’s no secret that Christopher Nolan is obsessed with time, most especially the non-linear nature of it. Be it Memento, Inception, Interstellar or even Dunkirk, he is super aware of his audience, so much so he gets Neil (Robert Pattinson’s character) to ask you “Does your head hurt yet?” after explaining the Grandfather paradox and a few other time-bending concepts. High concept in script and mechanics, every question has an answer within this narrative. Every potential loophole has its validation. The time inversion concept has not been used in this way before, because it is not an easy feat. Watching the simultaneous forward and backward movements of people or objects makes for stunning visuals. A visually stunning action masterpiece.
John David Washington as the protagonist may not have the charisma of a Tom Cruise or Will Smith, but he plays the everyman role to a tee and is stoic enough to both knowingly and unknowingly maintain covertness for the purpose of the narrative.
Elizabeth Debiki’s character as Kat has agency and is determined, evolving from being fuelled by Despair into Anger.
Robert Pattinson’s Neil character is an unsung hero, a guardian angel of sorts, and he plays the role with such intentional coyness and care.
The practical effects work well for the tone of this film. Sonically, the score was adequate, not too overwhelming but effective. I noticed how effective the score was, particularly in a scene that builds up to show a more menacing side to Sator (The antagonist).
The cinematography is visually arresting and may not be fully appreciated until a second watch.
A selfish part of me really did wish Kat and The Protagonist had more chemistry, but then again her story would have lost some of its substance as a determined mother, had she been portrayed in a clichéd sexualised manner.
Did I fully understand the film? After my 2nd watch I’d say up to about 95%. It’s the fact that I may have missed something or that the story becomes more and more cohesive after each rewatch that makes Tenet so enthralling. Even as a popcorn flick without trying to break it down to understand everything, it still works.
"Cowboy shit" - Ives