Tenet: Not a Review, but a Love Letter to Neil


I, like many, safely went out to a theater to see Tenet. I live in Los Angeles and did drive a few hours to accomplish going to an open movie theater, as theaters are not open in my area yet. Yes, I enjoyed Tenet despite some issues I had with the script, but it wasn’t just the impeccable editing, jaw dropping action sequences or beautiful score that got me, it was the character of Neil and his suits, luscious blonde hair and impeccable comedic timing. 

No, this isn’t a review of Tenet; this is a love letter to our boy Neil. Even though this isn’t a review, there are some major spoilers ahead! 

We first meet Neil when our protagonist, also named The Protagonist, meets Neil for what he thinks is the first time. Neil is drinking a little and in a perfect suit with a bit of disheveled, blonde hair. While The Protagonist cannot tell if he can trust Neil, I instantly fell in love. He was charming and funny, but still a little awkward. It was obvious Robert Pattinson was having so much fun playing him and I think we, as an audience, had even more fun watching. 

Yes, Pattinson is obviously an incredible actor, but Tenet was the first movie in so long he seemed to be having fun and bringing his charisma to screen to enchant us and make us swoon. Not that I wasn’t enchanted by him in The Lighthouse with the mermaid doll or in High Life carrying a baby. 

Neil’s background or job are not entirely explained to us throughout the film. Michael Caine puts our Protagonist in touch with him and from the moment Neil arrives, it appears he may know our Protagonist more than we would have thought. Neil is so at ease with the Protagonist more so than many others have appeared to be. He comes across as his friend, not just a colleague from his comfortability with the Protagonist, but from his ability to relax yet him recognizing the Protagonist is still working (order me a Diet Coke too, Neil). 

Beautiful work by @l3earfat_h

Now, I don’t want to get heavy into spoilers pertaining to the plot itself as this is more about Neil than the actual film, Tenet, so bare with me while I jump a little ahead to the ending of the Protagonist and Neil. 

After an incredible, mind blowing action sequence in the third act of the movie, we see our Protagonist and Neil exchanging what comes across as a goodbye. The goodbye between them is basically the Hypocenter of their friendship (yes, tying in the plot to their relationship). While the mission truly begins for the Protagonist, Neil’s mission with the Protagonist is ending, as he’ll have to invert and go through time again, where he’ll end up the corpse near the access gate (why Christopher Nolan, why!!). As they’re exchanging their goodbyes, the Protagonist tears up a little and thinking back on it, I am too as I write this. 

After leaving the film, I was blown away by the set pieces, action sequences and incredible score, but Robert Pattinson’s charisma was also high on my list of positives about this film. After I finally had time to think about the film in depth and process my final thoughts on it, I then began to look on Twitter to see what everyone else was saying. I was not disappointed when I came across the hashtag Protagoneil. 

When I first came across a relationship nickname for the Protagonist and Neil, I was a little taken a back. I then began to think about the friendship laid out on screen between the two and thought ya know, I can see how this plot could unfold. Now, I know there’s more in depth fan theories about how Neil is really Kat’s son or Kat’s maiden name is Cobb, but the theory I enjoy most is the Protagonist and Neil are romantically involved in a time jumping relationship. 

I want to shout out the beautiful fan art I have found on Twitter under the Protagoneil hashtag. Most of these drawings are worth being framed and I need to see any and all Protagoneil fan art. This fan art made Twitter are great place for once. We love to see it.

Beautiful work by @puryartist on Twitter

Literally framing this piece by @ian19961 on Twitter

This was the first piece I saw under the hashtag and MAN is @8yliu_2233 on Twitter talented. I love that Neil is barefoot.

This fan art by the great @bxbypaym is beautiful and makes me a lil emotional.

The newest background on my phone courtesy of the talented @superduper___

I have retweeted even more fan art from some incredible artists on Twitter and hope to find even more of our boys, Neil and the Protagonist.

At the end of the day, I did enjoy Tenet, but this is a space for me to praise Neil and his impeccable suits, beautiful, blonde hair, adorable one-liners and his love for the Protagonist (stream MEETING NEIL on Apple Music by the incredible Academy Award winning composer Ludwig Göransson).

Made by my co-host and good friend Ricky Valero after I blew up his phone with all of this fan art from Twitter!

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