To start with, I am a huge fan of mind-blowing time travel/time loop/multiverse movies. Therefore, I was well prepared for this journey:) What did Tenet offer me?
- Impressive and intense opening sequence
- Stunning cinematography and set pieces
- Fantastic idea of time inversion
- Good performances by John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh. I would like to specifically note Robert Pattinson (whom I always underestimated). Although having considerably less screen time than I expected, his character is charismatic and memorable.
- Stylish and cool "inverted" soundtrack by Ludwig Goransson.
When it comes to the plot... There is a fine line between a well-crafted and satisfyingly mind-blowing movies (e.g. Memento, Inception, Mr. Nobody, "Dark" series) and a confusing pseudo-scientific mess. Tenet is right on the borderline... Given my previous experience, I could generally understand the plot and see the plot twists coming (some of them were quite predictable). However, considering extreme intensity/fast pace of the film, it is
impossible to spot all the details (especially in the last sequence). Moreover, the film is full of exposition/dialogues which are hard to discern due to background music/noise and actors mumbling (much worse in IMAX). These constant dialogues made me recall low-budget gem "Primer" (mind-bending time travel movie shot for USD 7000, not 200 mln!). Overall, the plot is not solid, it feels a bit rushed and rough. We are seeing multiple stunning locations, new characters and some illogical/unnecessary actions with little to no introduction. The film also lacks personal stories and emotional touch (except for Debicki's storyline). Cannot say that it was too cold though (I liked a couple of jokes and quotes).
In a nutshell, Tenet is a spectacular and fast-paced action movie with an interesting and complex time inversion idea applied to a very basic and imperfect spy plot. While Clemence Poesy says "Don't try to understand it, feel it", I would say "...just enjoy the spectacle". Advice: if you really want to understand something, try to find a subtitled or dubbed version, especially if English is not your mother tongue (and perhaps not in IMAX).