Josh Teggert’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Don't try to understand it. Feel it."
***This is a preliminary rating, because I believe the very design of Tenet requires the viewer to sit through it a second time before grasping the true emotional weight and ambition of the picture.***
One thing that is sure as hell though, is that this is the loudest, bassist film I've seen in a long time. This has both beneficial and counterproductive effects. The action truly is astounding and is where the blend of Ludwig Göransson's marvellously tense score and the bombastic yet often subtly implemented sound effects works to its greatest potential. However, in moments where (let's face it, he's a visionary in the rawest, rarest form) Christopher Nolan is desperately trying to capture that crisp authenticity of a scene - thus including the surrounding environment in all its invasive plentitude - a lot of the dialogue is lost. And you goddamn NEED to hear every single syllable of spoken word, let alone each line, to get a hold of what is going on throughout the film, yet I was often let down not so much by what I generally misunderstood about the film as it was unfolding, but what I simply could not for the life of me actually *hear*.
Seriously, I managed to comprehend maybe 30% of the film at the time it was presented to me immediately. But in fairness, that 30% pretty much helped account for the remaining 70% to some degree. It's not like Inception which eases the viewer into its high-concept environment which gradually encapsulates you like the very dreams it is set in. No, Tenet is full throttle from the absolute offset. Mind you, it does make for a stunningly exhilarating experience if not for the sheer quantity of information you are frankly *expected* to digest there and then. There is very little convincing required before being thrust into this 2.5 hour monstertruck adventure, and minimal reinforcement of such things thereafter. It is merely a precondition of the film that we are to view what happens and breeze along by just acknowledging that what is happening, is in fact just happening. Don't question it. You won't get it.
"Don't try to understand it. *Feel it*.
This is the where the sheer enjoyment of Tenet lies, in the acknowledgement that we probably won't understand what is going on for the most part, but we know that what we are viewing is something exciting, thrilling, and purely made for the purpose of celebrating genuine cinematic thrills. Indeed, the whole story of Tenet is about establishing the coexistence of two polar opposites, utilising Nolan's preferred dimension of time.
Therefore, while an audience reasonably shouldn't be expected to blindly affirm and believe the things they are presented with, nor are they told that everything they see they will naturally understand. It's not oxymoronic to suggest that one must suspend disbelief to grasp a film, or counteractively take everything on board at face value in order to truly *get* what's going. Rather, it's a juxtaposition that works synonymously towards the exact same outcome. The raw, cinematic atmosphere of a well-made film, one which you can feel pulsating through you as its narrative grows, for reasons you ultimately can't truly explain at the time, but may come to terms with as the concept flourishes progressively.
***Second viewing and more opinions incoming likely in a week or so once my ears have recovered.***