CalebC’s review published on Letterboxd:
The word Tenet is a palindrome; the same backwards and forwards.
Tenet as a film is not as easy to describe.
Simultaneously engaging in the way its crafted and directed, but also oblique, fragmented and confusing.
This film contains moments that are visceral and spellbinding. Nolan at his peak; a dynamic camera, practical sets and a pulse pounding score. You feel it in your bones, its impossible to turn away. Yet it also contains a script that is mostly exposition and a plot that seems needlessly convoluted for the end result. How can a film be so over-explained yet so half-baked?
My intention is not to come off as harsh or disappointed, it's a genuine question. Maybe under a different director the entire film as a whole would fall apart. However this is a Nolan film, and he knows how to deliver. Even in my confusion, I couldn't turn away. It was captivating to watch the film unfold.
John David Washington is amazing in this role. He has natural charisma, even when delivering exposition. He is a great leading man, i just wish the dialogue levels at certain parts were better mixed. To be fair it could have been the theatre, but there are whole scenes where I had to strain to catch what was being said.
At this point I have a million more things I want to say. However I'll stop here, I really want to see this again. On a deeper level the movie does make a point by saying "try not to understand it feel it."If immersion and visceral emotion is Nolan's intent, he has done so with flying colours. A fear I have is, will I continue to feel what I felt on first viewing? Without understanding character motivations, and without any form of emotional through line; can I keep coming back to this film and be satisfied? I don't know, but for now I am glad to have experienced it.