Gabriel Presley’s review published on Letterboxd:
This movie was really breathtaking.
In Tenet, Chris Nolan fully indulges is his vision to create the most Chris Nolan film yet, which comes with the pros and major cons.
The most obvious thing to talk about is the sound mixing, which is as expected from Nolan: wild. The dialogue is hidden in the mix, with the fantastic score and great sound design being pushed to the foreground. While at face value this sounds like it will hurt scenes and make the already confusing plot harder to follow (which does happen at some points), the mixing, at least in Imax, made the action scenes into some of the most tense, and enthralling I’ve seen.
The movie kicks off with a set piece which leaves you wondering about what’s going on, like most of the film, and also amazed by the scene itself, with Nolan bringing his most interesting and well done action direction yet.
However this film does not stay up to the quality of that scene for much long after, after a series repetitive dialogue scenes, you then get given a mystery which is so plainly obvious but the fact that you’ve worked it out doesn’t take back that much from the impact of it later on.
As the film goes on, you realise why the film has its runtime, it just keeps adding more plot and doesn’t really stop setting up new characters and missions until late in the second act. You keep jumping around with a lightning fast pace which doesn’t give you time to really comprehend the concepts given to you.
The pacing really effects the weight of the actions and the jumping from quest to quest (reminiscent of The Rise of Skywalker but pulled of way better) and also makes Kennith Branagh's character seem partially under developed as well as the most hammy and cliche character and performance in the film.
While all of this makes it sound like I don’t like the film, I doesn’t effect the enjoyment in the long run.
The performances on the most part were great. As stated before Branagh wasn’t perfect, but Pattinson and Washington were great and really carried the less interesting parts with their charm. John David Washington particularly is amazing at grounding you and helping you as the audience as you’re introduced with character after character and Nolan trying to confuse you with time.
It’s not perfect, but the interesting premise that keeps you heavily invested, amazing action scenes, great sound design (when it isn’t drowning out a normal dialogue scene), and the sort of spectacle that blew me away in the same way I thought Inception would, makes this an amazingly fun and epic experience that made me realise that Chris Nolan really is the master at IMax filmmaking.