Victor Dubyna’s review published on Letterboxd:
Tenet is a unique film in Chris Nolan’s catalogue. If we are being honest, it is an utter mess. Sometimes it felt like a high art science fiction film, sometimes it felt like a Christopher Nolan parody, and other times it was straight up vulgar. But it’s a beautiful mess and it’s highs are Everest level. The opening scene, which I thought was going to connect to the actual plot in a clever way, and sadly it didn’t, still nonetheless had me ascended. The score is orgasmically ear-shattering and Nolan’s direction of the action and the set piece was excellent. From there on out what we get is confusing, simultaneously dumber and smarter than me, and offers varying levels of entertainment. Unless my memory is failing me, Tenet features the most exposition of any Nolan movie ever. There are so many scenes of people talking and what they are saying is tough to grasp both due to silly scifi jargon as well as just audibly being difficult to interpret in the sound mix. It’s incredibly easy to get lost and literally most times a new scene started I was confused how we got there and why. There are things I have read up on that have given me a greater understanding of the plots inner workings and some super subtle but important moments I missed, and I really want to see the film again and see how the experience changes with a much firmer grasp. The action is of course stellar and a huge achievement throughout, and the film’s technical treats can be pretty occasionally delicious. A big source of surprise and entertainment is how ~vulgar~ this shit is. This is destined to be in Vulgar Canon. Chris Nolan dialogue has never been great but so many of the lines in this movie just had me astonished that they were in a Chris Nolan movie. The main character, to me, was really silly and used for comedic relief so much and so awkwardly. This awkward and out of place humour was tonally unfitting as hell, but admittedly super entertaining. The villain was not very compelling, but like the protagonist, who by the way, is literally called The Protagonist, and awkwardly refers to himself as such, is also such a goofy character in a pretty entertaining way. But yeah, the convoluted plot, crazy exposition, WHACK characters and dialogue, the crazy premise. Vulgar as hell. This movie will drop down to a 3.4 or 3.5 mark my words.
So those are my messy thoughts on this messy movie. Definitely a film I need to and want to see again. I feel pretty torn and unclear on it. I honestly feel like it could be anywhere from a 2 to 3.5. It’s such a mess, but in a way that intrigues me, and it’s highs are very high. Needs to be seen again for sure.