Hugh Collins’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh man, I really really wanted to love this. But I didn't. Part of me thinks I should give it another go but I'm really not sure I can be bothered.
Ok I'll start with the positives. From a purely visual perspective Tenet is a masterpiece. An absolute spectacle of the highest order. A visual feast. Totally jaw dropping and groundbreaking. Easily some of the most advanced action sequences and set pieces ever put to camera. How some of the footage in this actually exists is mind blowing. Also it's utterly gorgeous, Hoyte van Hoytema still one of my fav DPs ever.
Ok I'm gonna get a bit more savage now. Honestly I haven't felt this lost in a movie EVER. There were a few conversations in the middle where I completely fell off and that was it. Game over. There was no coming back after that. It reminded me of watching The Matrix as a kid where I had to tell myself to forget about trying to understand what was happening and just relax and enjoy the spectacle. But if only it were that simple. Don't get me wrong I had the very very general gist of what was going on. But as for the finer details and character motivations - I may as well have been watching a movie in Japanese.
Having said that, the dialogue was actually really shit. And I see I'm not the only one on here saying some of it was totally indecipherable. I felt like Washington and Patterson were almost mumbling for half of it. And no I'm not talking about those parts (if you've seen it you'll know what I mean. Of course I could see what was going on there, I wasn't that lost).
Also Kenneth Branagh's character was shit. Some Pierce Brosnan 007 film wants its villain back.
Tenet really reminded me of how much of an English kinda dude I am, if you get me (not saying I love tea and football). In other words science and maths were never my strong points at school. Far from it. And Nolan is certainly happy to rub that in my face.
Im gonna be really honest and brutal and say that if you understood absolutely everything going on in this you are either:
a) Full of shit - as in you actually didn't understand it at all and have somehow convinced yourself you have
b) A total genius who should probably be a physics professor at Harvard or Oxford
Looking forward to seeing how this rates in the coming weeks/months/years (thinking of you America).
3 stars for spectacle.