Josh’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm convinced that Christopher Nolan is trying to make it as hard as possible for the audience to understand what his actors are saying.
Tenet had a strong opening sequence, but after that, the first hour was pretty weak. It was essentially just two characters in every scene spewing exposition at the audience. The first hour just felt like one exposition dump, after another exposition dump, after another exposition dump. This made the film drag and made it hard to follow because there is so much information being thrown at you constantly. On top of that, Nolan has his score cranked to the max, or he has his characters in a location with tons of background noise. I don't know, it could just be me, I just found it so difficult to hear some of the lines in this film. This made an already convoluted plot even more of a chore to follow.
From a technical standpoint, Tenet is impressive. The scenes that involve time inversion were completely convincing with the way they used visual effects. Some of the camera work with the hand to hand combat was pretty bad though. The sound design was solid, gunshots and punches had so much low end to them, it sounded great in the theatre.
I liked the acting for the most part. John David Washington didn't blow me away with his lead performance but he was fine. I liked his performance a lot more in BlacKkKlansman. Kenneth Branagh's Russian accent was actually really good, the problem again was with some of his line delivery. He mumbles sometimes and it makes it hard to hear what he's saying. Again, I don't know, could just be me. Definitely going to rewatch this at home when I can turn on subtitles. Also, Michael Caine was in one scene, and at this point, he is literally just playing himself because Washington literally calls him 'Sir Michael' when the conversation is over.
I enjoyed the score, loved how much low-end Nolan used, it was practically shaking the whole fucking theatre. It's clear the composer was going for that Hans Zimmer-Nolan type of score, but I still think it worked.
I liked the film overall, just has problems with its script. Tenet is definitely Nolan's weakest film in my opinion.
Added to my 2020 Ranked List