This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Bryan Ray’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I’ve changed my tune quite a bit. A second viewing of this epic piece of cinema is mandatory. If you liked it but you were confused with the bombardment of information the first time around (like me), I highly recommend going back.
NEIL is the key to everything, and his character is by far the most intriguing figure in the story. Just look at the word TENET. N - Neil - is at its center. Not sure if that’s intentional...but it’s cool nonetheless 😂.
“What’s happened, happened” and Neil’s “reality” line really closed everything up. I knew going back to pay very close attention to the Opera scene, and I was able to catch that it was in fact The Protagonist (Washington) encountering The Protagonist at the start. It’s blink and you miss it, but it’s HIM.
If Kat’s son wasn’t named Max, I would’ve been convinced that he is Neil of the past since Priya was going to kill Kat & Max at the end. The Protagonist killing her means not only solidifying himself as the SOLE Protagonist (which is what happens) but also protecting Neil’s future. Neil says something along the lines of “you have a future within my past” which got me thinking. It’s a theory.
I was finally able to FULLY understand the inversion technology this time as well. I was confused as to how they time traveled and she was able to get back to the yacht at that exact point in time, but this time I picked up that they inverted themselves and traveled back within the ship. They went into an extended period of sleep which explains the time jump. Kat’s gunshot wound was much more healed than it was after they sent her back through the machine in the airport. Very cool stuff.
In my first review, I forgot to mention how great Branagh is. He’s over the top, but it really works. He’s honestly super menacing and terrifying. It’s a deliciously entertaining performance. Also, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is awesome and an extremely pivotal part of the film! Always a treat.
Overall, this is a fucking awesome Nolan movie and a second viewing really aids the viewing experience. Sound is still an issue...however I found it much less of an issue in IMAX with more balanced audio than in a regular auditorium where the bass really overpowers everything and muffles the dialogue a bit. Still an issue, but less in IMAX. Seeing that third act war scene in true IMAX truly amplified it’s EPICNESS. Loved this movie.