The Concept Gets In The Way Of Storytelling
Here’s the thing about Tenet. If you don’t buy into its concept, then the movie is completely lost on you. And while I didn’t understand all of it, I don’t think that was the issue. For instance, I love medical dramas, but I only know a fraction of what the characters are talking about. I don’t really need to know medical jargon to enjoy a medical drama since it’s all about character interactions. Not the medicine. But with Tenet, it’s all about time inversion, and I don’t care about time inversion. It just doesn’t interest me.
And that’s a shame, too, since I enjoy time travel stories. I love Primer, which is also quite complex, and I even love loosey-goosey time travel stories, like The Terminator. But I don’t like Tenet, and it’s because the storytelling (character interaction, plot, etc) takes a backseat to the concept of time inversion, and it shouldn’t. The storytelling should always come first, and it doesn’t with Tenet, which is why it ultimately fails.