Before the review, one thing needs to be clear: "Tenet" is worth seeing, but wait until you can rent or buy it. Despite how good everything else in the movie was, the sound mixing is horrendous.
I saw "Tenet" with an early access ticket at the AMC in Newport. Being the immersive-heavy moviegoer that I am, my friends and I decided to view it in the DOLBY theater.
For those that don't know, the number one benefit of seeing a movie in a DOLBY theater is its incredible surround sound. However, in the case of "Tenet," we couldn't have picked a more inconvenient viewing experience.
Like with most of Christopher Nolan's films, the score was excellent. It kept an amazing pace with what was happening on the screen and perfectly fit the film's vibe. However, it was just too loud.
For at least half of the film's run time, the sound mixing made it so that you could hardly hear any dialogue between the film's characters. I'm not sure if this was done on purpose, but I doubt it.
You might think that an action-heavy plot wouldn't suffer very much from limited dialogue, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Like many of Nolan's films, the movie's plot can be too confusing to the average audience member.
Akin to how Nolan's "Inception" concerned the layers of dreams, "Tenet" examines time layers. If you've seen the former, you know how difficult it can be to follow the film's plot. Now, imagine you couldn't hear half of the dialogue in the movie upon first viewing - that was my experience with "Tenet."
Apparently, I'm not alone. Audiences have reported a similar experience across the country, whether they were viewing it in a DOLBY theater or not. Some came out of the experience disliking the film, and many still enjoyed the experience like myself.
The acting performances were all a joy to watch, albeit I didn't hear a lot of what they said. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson have an excellent back and forth on-screen chemistry.
The film's visuals were immaculate, and the practical effects were utterly mind-boggling, as Nolan used no green screens or CGI for the film. Instead, he relied on complicated camera tricks. If you've seen the film or plan on seeing it, you will come to understand just how crazy that is.
Aside from its practical effects, the film relied on some of the most meticulous choreography ever performed in a film. With one actor going forward in time and another moving backward in time, one can imagine how difficult those scenes must have been to perform and rehearse.
As a result, I came out of the experience incredibly grateful for the amount of work which was put into the film, yet disappointed that I couldn't follow nor understand the plot nearly as much as I would've liked to due to its poor sound mixing. Long story short, wait for subtitles.