demi adejuyigbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
We rented a truck and drove to San Diego to see Tenet at the South Bay Drive-In, and I had a lovely time. Went to the beach, saw a beautiful sunset, made a silly video, and spent a good 90 minutes or so laughing about this big, dumb film. Nonsense movie. Absolutely unintelligible and confusing, but somehow still very predictable and rote. A miracle. He spent so much time figuring out the logistics of the central time mechanics that he spent absolutely no time on the dialogue or plot and decided to just have his characters try and explain what’s happening with every line– and I still don’t fully get what was happening for a bunch of the scenes.
I feel like it broke a spell within me where I see the Nolan formula so clearly and all of the worst parts of it are highlighted so strongly here. And despite the fact that I cannot think of too many concrete things that I could compliment about this film... I kiiiind of enjoyed it? Probably because it’s such a big dumb movie that it taps into the dumb part of my brain (majority part) that gets pure dopamine from a blockbuster action film, and for “getting” (like, 90%) something like this that is begging you to try and understand it. He tries to use all of the words in the Sator square as Easter eggs in this movie, which fills me with such a deep embarrassment because I am confident it’s exactly what I would have done if I were writing this movie in my freshman film writing class. Shane McAvoy said it best by saying this is really just a dumb Bond movie, and I wish Nolan wasn’t so obsessed with making cold and clever action films that he could have some fun and just lean way more into the dumbness!
Anyway, I had fun. One day I’ll watch this again in my home and think “yeah I could’ve just seen this at home the first time.” There’s a part in the middle of the movie where they explain the reversal rules that made us laugh so hard that a lot of the ride home was just saying new rules like ”the sun is the moon” and “eating is pooping.” Backwards movement looks silly and it’s hard not to see it as silly. Debicki is done so damn dirty in this. I liked watching John David Washington fight. When those “it’s time for a new protagonist” ads came out, I was like “this is a weird and gross ad, is this their way of trotting around in pride that Nolan hired a black lead?” Turns out the character is actually just called The Protagonist. Never given a name. Literally calls himself The Protagonist. If you think the reason for that is going to be explained in the movie, then baby, you got another Tenet coming!