Maximilian Pegasus’s review published on Letterboxd:
After having seen Christopher Nolan's Tenet for the second time as advised by the many fans that adored the film - "it's a movie you NEEEED
to rewatch" - and now that I have just about fully understood it, I can say that yeah...that's it. I understand it. I don't feel really feel happy after the film, to be honest I feel tired. Tenet is simply tiresome in its convoluted exposition that orders attention, and acts like a fit friend going for a jog with you. The one that keeps narcissistically telling you to keep up as you trail behind and they jog on. It's not fun running with them, so why do you do it? Heck, they're narcissistic and don't offer any character traits that make them fun to jog with. It’s except for the fact that they're fit and you want to run at their fast pace. Nolan, just like your jogger friend shows off how “smart” he is and you just want to be on his level. That’s how the movie feels to its audience.
Fuelled only by its ambition to be mind-flipping, Tenet leaves any emotional grip to its characters on the way-side. The throwaway protagonist named, "The Protagonist" being the easiest example of them all, if we brush aside the little information we know about any of our main team of characters. Elizabeth Debicki being the clear outlier, standing out like a sore-thumb as the only developed character with a motive besides "to save the world".
Nolan's best work is shown in his attention to visual detail, however. Tenet's grand set-pieces and fight scenes are choreographed to a tea, shown in clear wide shots that are at up-front value, visually exhilarating. Gun shots and punches hit hard and explode in volume through the cinema. It's in the action that Tenet's ridiculous concept really works to Nolan's advantage. Driving down a highway in reverse is crazily exciting, manoeuvring between other cars that are travelling in regular time. Yet it is all bogged down by a script that is so unnecessarily messy in how it chooses to reveal its plot/concept points that it forgets the rest of ‘what makes a movie’ past its concept. And so it misses an opportunity for there to be a reason to grip onto the characters' goals within the plot, because to hell with it. Between action scenes in exposition over coffee and exposition walking down the street and another street and another street: “There's a very vague cold war going on over something that has happened years and years in the future, and we need to fight it”
Okay. Okay. But um, why should we fight it? And what's at the end of it all?
It's mission accomplished. That’s it, I guess?