This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Billy Tsiolis’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Okay. Alright. I'm going to start this by saying that I should not have needed three viewings to obtain a solid grasp of this film. After all three experiences, I still don't understand at least 15% of what I saw. I think mining this movie once and reaching the conclusion I have would've felt just as satisfying as my mining it over three watches - but that doesn't mean the gold I saw wasn't great.
I think Tenet is as close as we'll ever get to Nolan's statement on his faith. Interstellar touched upon certain ideologies, but I think Tenet is a far more direct response to the question of believing. Of course, I can only infer as to what he believes, as per all films and their filmmaker. I don't think it's unfair to speculate that Nolan is a man of science and logic, immediately putting him in opposition with transcendental religions. Yet I also don't think it's unfair to depict him as an idealist. With these two inferences in mind, and the context of his body of work, I can't help but feel he's someone who views the laws of nature religiously - by that I mean, as a thing of beauty and mystery, an instrumental power we cannot understand yet find ourselves intertwined with and in awe of. Tenet solidified this personal subconscious analysis of Nolan with its final scene between Neil and The Protagonist, to which Neil says, "What's happened, happened... It's an expression of faith in the mechanics of the universe."
I was impacted by this. Other than the fact that this is clearly a running theme in his other works, particularly Interstellar and Dunkirk, I can't help but feel that it's one of the very reasons why Nolan is amongst, if not the, defining filmmakers of this century and for the people my age. We're a Godless generation. For better or worse, we grew up with no expectation of heaven, no higher power to lean on during our struggles, no guiding moral code. And with all this in mind, here is a man, here is an artist, who said 'maybe you're all right, maybe there isn't more. So maybe we can also find our God in this existence, in this life, in this world, through its beauty and through its mystery. Do not fret about the bleakness. Have faith in this wondrous universe as it is. What's happened, happened...'
Maybe I'm rambling, and I wish I could articulate myself more effectively, but I can't help but feel that I'm getting closer to the nature of Nolans greatness, at least in my own eyes.
Strong 4 Star