ryanmovieguy’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review is very delayed. I wanted to see it a second time before writing out my thoughts.
Tenet is a classic Christopher Nolan blockbuster in the sense that it has big ideas and a very large scale. The spectacle of this film is outstanding. It runs at a breakneck pace that is constantly revealing new ideas and jaw dropping set pieces that leave you buzzing and frantically trying to piece it all together.
This film needs a second watch. Nolan did something incredible by creating a singular film that behaves as two. Cause and effect happen simultaneously in this film making a single watch feel as if you are only seeing the first half. First watch is the cause, second watch is the effect.
Outside of the fascinating concept of time inversion, the plot is a wonderful espionage adventure. This is Nolan’s take on a James Bond movie.
John David Washington is incredibly suave as The Protagonist, that his name in the film. He presents himself as someone that is constantly composed regardless of the stakes, which gives him a very classic hero feel. He is aided by Neil, a mysterious sidekick played by Robert Pattinson who singlehandedly steals the movie from everyone, he is relentlessly charming. Kenneth Branagh is wonderfully over the top as a Russian arms dealer with a sinister plan, and Elizabeth Debicki grounds the film as his wife that is desperately trying to free herself and her son from his tyrannical grasp.
This is an overwhelmingly big film. The scope of the story travels all over the world. On a meta level the film comes across as Nolan’s love letter to cinema and a reflection on his career. An opening sequence showcasing The Protagonist saving a theater full of people sets the tone and those meta themes marvelously. This is a very rare blockbuster epic, see it on the biggest screen possible.