Crawlspace Dweller Matt [♥]’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I see you at the beginning, friend."
Nolan comes back with another shiny spectacle about an outside-the-box futuristic technology in the center but it doesn't stay on its own feet as well as for example Inception did.
The concept about technology making people be able to go through situations forwards and backwards is undoubtedly interesting and makes for fairly unique and visually impressive action scenes. But it doesn't stand its ground too well when it comes to being logically sound even in its own sometimes vague rules.
People used to say that Inception was convoluted and hard to follow, but I never really thought that was the case. At the end of the day, that had a very simple premise. I can see that more in Tenet where I can't always tell if the unique time-travel they came up with is actually consistent. It wasn't that important in Inception since that was mostly set inside people's dreams where rules aren't definite. But this one seems to put a lot of premise into feeling "realistic" and logical, while kind of struggling to always come across that way.
If the cinematography and editing weren't so good, a lot of this wouldn't fly as well. That is for the action scenes at least. The editing was kind of awkward at points during dialog.
Tenet also has a pretty boring little assortment of characters. John David Washington is a great actor and Robert Pattinson was probably my highlight of the film, but aside from them two, there aren't really any characters that are very memorable or well-written. The pool of characters is quite small anyway, but the few that are there seem to often lack something that would make them feel like more than stand-ins.
My absolute favorite part about this movie was the soundtrack. Ludwig Göransson's atmospheric, somewhat experimental electronic soundtrack was incredibly fun to me and helped the movie a lot in my opinion.
I give props for the interesting idea, the well-filmed action scenes, some of the actor's performances, and the soundtrack. But overall this seems a bit too flimsy to me to be something I would call great. I definitely understand the uneven reception this got.