Ryley’s review published on Letterboxd:
Nolan’s worst movie. An absolutely insufferable, entirely incoherent stream of trite exposition and indolent writing with absolutely no emotional core nor even the most remote understanding of tone or storytelling structure.
This is a film that rambles from setpiece to setpiece at barely decipherable speed, every so often winking indulgently at the viewer as if to say “if you’re not following this, the joke’s on you”, only to then trip over itself to explain ad nauseum what Nolan, for all his love of spectacle, barely attempts to convey cinematically. The editing is some of the worst in a major blockbuster for years, frequently foregoing logic entirely in the vague hope the viewer will get caught up in its simultaneous “forwards/inverted reality” setup.
This is all without mentioning the fact that the one saving grace among Nolan’s other equally masturbatory films, that there is an emotionally resonant core to the central characters, is all but absent here because Nolan has simply decreed it a lesser priority in the scheme of a film that attempts to fit so much plot into its two and a half hours that it is virtually incomprehensible. Perhaps worst of all, Nolan’s attempt to reckon with and improve upon the frequent complaint that his female characters lack any nuance or development is to have the central female character be abused throughout the film rather than dead. It would be laughable if it weren’t so infuriating.
Americans for whom Covid is not reason enough to stay home from the cinema can rest assured that Tenet will have you wishing that you never bothered.