You might be catching a few Friday blasts on Twitter in which Christopher Nolan's long-awaited Tenet is being presented as an outright critical dud, which—thankfully—is not at all an accurate summation of the reviews that have rolled in so far.
And as tedious as it is to put together (or read) a round-up of reviews focused on a movie that you yourself may very well not be able to see for many months, Tenet's release is made all the more complicated due to what Uproxx's Mike Ryan notes is the "moral dilemma" surrounding the film's release here in the States despite the pandemic still remaining very much a constant source of concern for those paying attention.
Regardless, Tenet is happening, and so are the reviews.
While you've probably seen a lot of traction behind two of the harsher takes (IndieWire and Guardian) on Nolan's John David Washington and Robert Pattinson-starring latest, a glance at review aggregator site Metacritic gives a clearer view of the critical landscape so far.
Leslie Felperin, writing for the Hollywood Reporter, addresses the palindromic title ("like Xanax") and points out a disparity that's quickly become a frequent topic of interest among the reviews released thus far: the visually breathtaking film's arguable lack, at least in many critics' opinion, of humanity.
And like Xanax, Tenet makes you feel floaty, mesmerized and, to an extent, soothed by its spectacle — but also so cloudy in the head that the only option is to relax and let it blow your mind around like a balloon, buffeted by seaside breezes and hot air.
Time Out's Phil de Semlyen, meanwhile, also noted the lack of "heart" among the film's "visual intensity."
The Wrap, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, Slash Film, Empire, and Variety hit similar notes in their (largely positive but only occasionally downright glowing) assessments of Tenet and all expressed admiration for the (indeed exhilarating) ambition on display in Nolan's storytelling, as well as the acting of the aforementioned leads and Elizabeth Debicki. This swath of reviews also, largely, took similar note of the widely argued "heart" problems of the 2020 epic.
Still, if checking Metacritic and/or Rotten Tomatoes averages is part of your pre-viewing ritual, you'll be pleased to know that Tenet is faring very fine on both. Even with some critics, like IndieWire's including Mike McCahill, going so far as to consider the film a "disappointment."
Below, see a selection of additional reviews:
Tenet will open in a limited number of theaters on Sept. 3 in the U.S., and August 26 in te UK. If you're wondering whether hitting up a theater is actually a good idea right now, these doctors recently shared their assessment of such a possibility, ultimately landing on a pretty firm urging of the general public to strongly reconsider.