Christopher Nolan's Tenet is about a spy simply called The Protagonist (John David Washington) in the credits. He's promoted to a secret assignment in which he has to go after a villain who has access to time manipulation. This is an interesting film with distinct concepts. A combination of a spy and sci-fi film isn't something you see every day. (I mean other than spy films involving lasers, robotics, and, that one time, going into space. I mean stuff that James Bond wouldn't even touch as it would be going too far.) However, the movie can be overindulgent, I think this could've been a leaner, stronger film.
I'll get to the good points about this first. The spy stuff is done well. (There is a lot more of that in this than the trailer lets on.) Seeing the Protagonist and his associate Neil (Robert Pattison) having to cleverly break into places is one of the best parts.
The sci-fi stuff is really, really interesting. Let me be clear that this isn't a typical "time travel" sort of movie. It's about time inversion, leading to some legit innovative concepts. The action scenes really take full advantage of this.
Tone wise think of this as kind of being the infiltration scenes from Inception matched with the action parts of Nolan's Batman movies.
Though a lot of the script takes itself seriously, there are occasional light lines from Washington or between him and Pattison that lend a bit of personality.
The standout actor here is probably Kenneth Brannagh as the antagonist. Brannagh delivers the best performance I've seen him do. (Bear in mind I haven't seen a lot of his earlier works including his Shakespeare films and Dead Again.) He completely loses himself in this truly despicable, dangerous man.
Okay, now for the film's issues. Considering that the lead is called The Protagonist and that title of this film about time inversion happens to be spelled out the same way forward and backward, you can tell that Nolan is be trying too hard to be clever. Way, way, way too much exposition is thrown at you; I mean a crazy amount. Almost every line is a plot point. If you don't pay attention you could become lost. I got the general gist of everything, but there were moments where I had to fill-in-the-blanks and play catch up.
Sometimes the sound effects or music are too loud or the actors are speaking too quietly, making it harder to understand what is going on.
The final action scene looks nice but is far too complicated. I couldn't even tell where the bad guys were coming from.
Besides the complexity of the story, the other major issue is the length. This didn't need to be two-and-a-half hours. The middle act in particular, could've been cut down.
When this movie is good, it is good, but it could've been so much more entertaining if it was shorter and some plot points whittled down. I recommend this, especially if you're a Nolan fan, as it is a unique experience. But it's something you can sit on till a rainy day.