Aneesh Chaganty’s review published on Letterboxd:
What a burden this movie carries.
So much about the film industry’s future, the theatrical future, a health crisis’ future, Nolan’s dominance all play into the narrative that is TENET. It’s a burden too heavy for any movie to carry. And, as it turns out, TENET is actually just a movie, too.
It’s visually exciting and confusing, momentous and confusing, thrilling and confusing and possibly brilliant but still definitely too confusing to tell. Without giving much away, there’s a very clear midpoint in the film and, honestly, everything on the right side of that midpoint, I couldn’t tell you what I watched. I picked up cues and there are key moments I remember (the action and sense of momentum in this movie is pretty jaw-dropping), but the rest is a fog. By the ending, it’s clear the film isn’t meant to be fully understood the first time (a line from early on proves prophetic: “Don’t try to understand it,” a scientist in the story says. “Feel it.”), but I’m not sure if that much confusion was worth the spectacle. Or was it? I don’t know. Thing is: I *will* watch this again. And maybe I’ll watch it another time after that. Just to understand it. This movie is everything you love about a Chris Nolan film and everything you don’t like as much (and/or hate) pushed to the absolute extremest of extremes. It’s a full feature film in which every scene is the spinning top from INCEPTION with a constant voiceover from PRIMER.
And what a privilege it is to dissect it. If I want to.
I want to. I think.
On a side note: what a wonderful and surreal thing to have watched this movie at the theater. I rented out a screen at Cinemark in Orange County for $150 (you can do that, apparently) and saw a 4 PM showing with my friends. To be back was wonderful. So despite perhaps not achieving the financial success the filmmakers probably hoped for when they released the movie during a health crisis, at least for people like me: TENET and the love of the movie theaters will always go hand in hand. I hope they know that :)