ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’ve talked about Christopher Nolan, I’ve talked about the cast, I’ve talked about Ludwig Göransson and Jennifer Lame, so this time I wanted to talk about Hoyte Van Hoytema’s work on the film, which is both profound, essential and truly immaculate. Red Room Blue Room is a particularly striking highlight of his work on the film, both highlighting the conflicting linear and inverse sway of time combining that with the intense opposition and indifference in both mission, ideology and setting between Sator and The Protagonist - red vs blue. Perfection.
I think most of his work throughout the film is just stunning, he captures the opening opera siege’s action quite ferociously yet freely, in a way that slowly immerses the audience into this cold, secret world of espionage and inversion.
His cinematography through the Tallinn road heist is also just thrilling to say the least, and his work in capturing the fast-paced action whilst balancing that with the emotion and high-stakes mind games of the situation is simply impressive. Just immaculately visceral.
The Stalsk-12 mission, the finale of that mission and the hallway fight scenes are also other particular highlights of his work on Tenet, all simply essential and naturally acclimatised to the work and to Nolan’s craft and style of work, whilst beautifully, fully, viscerally captured on IMAX perf 15/70mm film stock. The power of celluloid bonded with the immersive expansion of IMAX, bringing Nolan’s mind-bending vision of inversion and espionage to the big screen.
Hoyte Van Hoytema is genuinely one of, if not the best DP’s working in the industry right now and the way he lights and blocks his films are unliked anyone else, for me. He captures hope and melancholia and beauty and mystery and thrill and posterity in such fresh lights and so many of the films he has worked on - including his Nolan collaborations - owe much of their execution to his wonderful craft. Truly the best.