Sam Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
How would I describe Tenet?
Remember that Tony Scott movie Deja Vu? With Denzel?
Tenet is sort of like that movie on steroids and every drug imaginable. Oh and a younger Washington of course.
Nolan once again crafts an incredible film that displays originality and inventiveness of the highest degree. The mechanics and science of the world that Nolan creates is rather complex. Some audience members may have no idea what's going on half the time and I can see this dividing viewers. Some will say it’s Nolan’s worst movie and he’s gone mad with power and on the other end, some will say it’s a sci-fi action masterpiece. On first watch for me, I followed the plot and story, understanding the science and mechanics fairly well, however its a movie that will defintely get better on rewatches and I can see myself loving it even more than I do now. Rewatches will bolster all the different moving parts to this story because man there is so much to take in.
Much like Dunkirk, Tenet is a genuine techincal marvel. There are moments that absolutely blow my mind and I'm there pondering how the hell they did that. Also like Dunkirk, it is lacking in the characterisation and humanity department. In fact our lead character is only known as ‘The Protagonist.’ Now a name is not essential to creating a great character (I mean one of my favourite movies is Drive, featuring the nameless Driver) but when there isn’t much to the character besides literally being the protagonist then you won’t really get emotionally invested. John David Washington is awesome and brings enough charisma. There is so much plot to cram into this film thanks to the originality of the premise, that its a wonder Nolan pulls out the smallest amount of emotional heft he does.
We are thrown into the world of Tenet without much handholding. I appreciate filmmakers who don't treat the audience like they are idiots. Tenet doesn't give you too much and asks you to be patient for the first 40 - 60 minutes. Once certain things start to fall into place and click, if you've been patient, then you'll fall head over heels in love with this movie just like I did.
It felt so good going to the cinemas for the first time in months and walking out with a monstrous grin on my face. Cinema has returned.
It's not a perfect movie but on an entertainment level for sci-fi fans it’s a 10/10. You can't really ask for much more from a sci-fi action flick and I can’t wait to see it again.
If you are planning to watch Tenet on anything other than the big screen.
Don't you frickin' dare.
YouTube explanation channels are gonna love the hell out of this thing. I can already see them with their mind maps and all that crap lol.