zakary’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I'm the protagonist"
Tenet is absolutely the weirdest and wackiest movie I've ever watched in a cinema, for all the right fucking reasons; this film to quote Travis Scott, is FIRE.
from the first literal (and very loud) startling bang to the last emotional beat the film leaves lingering on; once you're along for this ride, you're on it for 149mins with absolutely no stopping.
the protagonist is effortlessly cool, to me he's just literally james bond with a modern and more realistic flair, and JDW absolutely nails it with every scene he's in, and knowing he did most of his own stunts for the incredibly creative inverted fight scenes enhance the sheer quality of his excellent performance.
his screen presence is commanding and every time he's on screen, you can't help but smile. he is (no pun intended, the perfect protagonist in this time bending thriller.)
from the first minute (at least 40 secs into the film it gets LOUD), there are some incredible moments of white knuckled tension that are simply relentless, accompanied with that pulsating, loud, bassy score you have heard in the trailers from Ludwig Goransson.
my only real gripe here is that pretty much all those breathtaking moments of creative violence and action were shown in the promotional material unfortunately which left little element of surprise when watching the movie.
surprisingly enough, the instrumental for Travis Scott's soundtrack song The Plan (including Travis's autotuned "ooo") is an ongoing score cue used in the film, acting as the "theme" of the film used mostly during the fight scenes and over the end credits.
and despite what people already think after hearing the song without watching the film, it genuinely works. (it's not just the end credits theme as people speculated) i hope it earns him an Oscar nod, along with Ludwig's score.
with that bassy, incredibly immersive score from goransson and those fragrant autotuned falsetto notes from Scott however, a thing I've seen people note when they've watched the film is the sound mixing issue with the dialogue levels.
this is a big issue for some real pivotal scenes in particular, and unfortunately it was very noticeable and should definitely be looked into by Warner Bros because this is a movie you really CANNOT miss a second of, and when the dialogue level is mixed significantly low to what the score is, it is very difficult to understand which makes the complexities of the narrative all the more harder to follow.
if there was ever a time to add a stunts category at the Oscars, now would definetly be a good time because those inverted fight sequences are absolutely a marvel to behold especially in that third act.
hoyte van hoytema's intimate and breathtaking cinematography enhances them so much. hoyte gives the characters little to no space to move around freely within certain shots, because that is simply how Nolan intends to make the audience feel exactly how the character feel.
there is no time to stall or time to reflect on what you've seen, there is only the importance of the mission. time is slowly running out for these characters and Nolan never relents.
from the very get go the characters are placed into a "twilight world" of intense danger and that is shown not only through performance, but through the score acting like a lingering villain, the expert direction and at times claustrophobic cinematography.
i cannot wait to see this again.
this requires multiple viewings, & a lot of attention, because in my opinion tenet is an incredibly intelligent film with an intricate, unique narrative that needs to be experienced.
the espionage label does read like a james bond film but goes way beyond a conventional spy thriller with more panache and flair than any of the spy films I've ever seen.
with a much more original story with thought provoking ideas and great execution, it still leaves room for more which I hope is to come because to me, this felt like the beginning to another trilogy.
the story is a little confusing in some aspects, but with complete undivided attention you'll begin to pick up on more fragments of the narrative seeds that were planted from the first scene, and the seeds that Nolan continues to plant until the final twist of sorts.
the ending is a true head scratcher of sorts and will leave audiences very divided as it already has done critically, but this is christopher nolan we're talking about here remember. but this ending was a lot more difficult to fully grasp until a few pieces of the early story fit together in my head.
i know this was a real thinker, because i stayed completely silent as the credits rolled with travis scott's theme playing over them and as i exited out of the fire exit, my exact words to my pals were:
"what the fucking hell did I just sit through, and when can I watch it again"
i can safely say that cinema AND Nolan are back.
and with a BANG.