Nick Spaine 💥’s review published on Letterboxd:
“This reversing the flow of time, doesn't us being here now, mean it never happened?”
I saw Tenet on Monday which was opening night for my theater and my plan was to come home and knock out this review to post it that night. I couldn’t fully wrap my head around this film enough to fully write a review I was happy with, so here we are a couple days later. I really wanted to love this film, all the pieces were there. It was one of my most anticipated films of the year, it’s a Christopher Nolan film (one of my favorite directors), and it includes time travel. However, in this case Nolan out “Nolan-ed” himself with the massive scale of this movie and it’s complexity. Walking out of that theater on Monday was the most torn, confused, disappointed and scatter brained I’ve felt in a long time after watching a movie. Nolan can make complex ideas come to life and make audiences understand them. Inception and Interstellar are two confusing concepts, but you can finish the film with a pretty good grasp about what’s going on. This film is the icing on the cake of complexity, as it was more like I was being outsmarted by the movie. Obviously this film wasn’t all bad, the action sequences were incredible and grand in scale, the film it’s self was beautiful as it travels many places around the world. And when it was those things going on, I was entertained, and that’s what i want from a movie.
That’s not what Tenet was, far from it. This was a maddening and confusing watch that hurt my brain to understand. I mentioned the action a little bit ago, the first hour was at such a quick pace that there was really no time to slow down, catch your breath and have the time to figure out what was going on. It wasn’t until the time travel elements were introduced where I thought I was starting to piece things together. Even still after that with all the inversions going on how the rules of how traveling through time works it twisted the narrative and again lost me in concepts. While getting through the film, as soon as a question would be answered another two questions would popped in that needed to be answered. This frustrating loop continued through the entirety of this film. I look at a film like Inception, in which the characters are really explored, especially Cobb, and their motivations are understood. Then with this film, it’s the opposite, other than Elizabeth Debicki’s character. John David Washington’s character doesn’t even have a name! His cast name is “The Protagonist”, that is so stupid. Even Robert Pattinson is a closed book. The sound mixing is also terrible too as many times the dialogue would be muffled by the characters wearing masks or loud sounds in the background. Overall, Nolan has reached this point in his career where he feels he needs to have these out of this world large scale films like this and Dunkirk and I’m just not a fan of it. On top of that, this movie was just so frustrating that I couldn’t find a lot of enjoyment.
Overall Rating: B