Tenet (film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Tenet is a 2020 action-thriller and science fiction film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who produced it with Emma Thomas. A co-production between the United Kingdom and United States, it stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. The plot follows a secret agent (Washington) as he manipulates the flow of time to prevent World War III.

Nolan took more than five years to write the screenplay after deliberating about TenetTemplate:'s central ideas for over a decade. Pre-production began in late 2018, casting in March 2019, and principal photography lasted three months in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and United States, from May to November. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot on 70 mm and IMAX. Scenes of time manipulation were filmed both backwards and forwards. In excess of a hundred vessels and thousands of extras were used.

Delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenet was released in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2020, and United States on September 3, 2020, in IMAX, 35 mm, and 70 mm. It was the first Hollywood tent-pole to open in theaters after the pandemic shutdown, and has grossed $284 million worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 2020. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances, production value, and visuals, though some criticized the complex plot and sound mixing.


An unnamed CIA agent, the "Protagonist", participates in an undercover operation at a Kyiv opera house. He is aided by a masked soldier with a distinctive trinket, who appears to "un-fire" a bullet through a hostile gunman. After rescuing an exposed spy and seizing a strange artifact, the Protagonist is captured by Russian mercenaries. He endures torture before consuming a cyanide pill. He awakens to learn the pill was a test of his loyalty; his team has been killed and the artifact lost.

The Protagonist learns that he is now employed by a secret organization called Tenet, whose mission involves the human race's survival. He is directed to Barbara, a scientist studying bullets with "inverted" entropy which allows them to move backwards through time. She believes they are manufactured in the future, and there exists a weapon that can wipe out the past.

The Protagonist traces the bullet cartridges to Mumbai-based arms dealer Priya Singh. Assisted by a local contact named Neil, he confronts Priya, who turns out to be a member of Tenet. Her cartridges were purchased and inverted by Andrei Sator, a Russian oligarch originating from Stalsk-12, a former Soviet closed city, and who can apparently communicate with the future.

The Protagonist approaches Sator's estranged wife Kat, an art appraiser who unknowingly sold Sator a forged Goya drawing. Kat reveals that Sator uses the drawing to keep her under his control. To enlist Kat's help, the Protagonist plots to steal the drawing from Freeport, a facility within Oslo Airport. Inside Freeport, they find a machine (later referred to as "Turnstile") from which two masked men emerge; the inverted one attacks the Protagonist, while Neil chases after the normal one. Neil prevents the Protagonist from killing the inverted man, adding that he "took care" of the other one. Priya explains that Turnstile is developed in the future and can invert the entropy of objects and people, and that the two masked men were the same person.

In Amalfi Coast, believing the drawing was destroyed, Kat introduces the Protagonist to Sator, only to learn later that the drawing is still intact. The three go on a boating trip, during which Kat attempts to drown Sator, but the Protagonist saves him. Posing as a freelancer, he offers to help Sator retrieve a case of Plutonium-241.

In Tallinn, the Protagonist and Neil ambush an armoured convoy and steal the "Plutonium," which is actually the artifact lost in the botched Kyiv opera house siege. His escape is compromised by two vehicles driven by inverted individuals, one of which is Sator, who holds Kat hostage. The Protagonist gives Sator an empty case. Sator retreats, leaving Kat in the speeding vehicle. After saving her, the Protagonist is captured and taken to Sator's warehouse containing another Turnstile. In a confusing interrogation, an inverted Sator (who shoots Kat with an inverted round) and a normal one demand the location of the artifact, about which the Protagonist lies. Just then, a team of Tenet operatives led by Ives arrive in an ambush and comes to the Protagonist's aid while Sator escapes.

The Protagonist, Neil, Ives and his operatives take the mortally wounded Kat through Sator's Turnstile to invert her whole self, reversing the effect of the round. He returns to the ambush site and chases after Sator. His vehicle is overturned and Sator sets it on fire. He is saved by Ives' team again. Neil reveals that he has secretly been a member of Tenet from the beginning. They travel back to Freeport a week earlier. There, the Protagonist fights his past self before reaching the Turnstile and un-inverts himself. Neil takes Kat through the Turnstile which un-inverts both of them.

Priya explains that the artifacts are parts of an "Algorithm" capable of catastrophically inverting the entire world. Future humans had been using Sator to assemble it. Priya plans for Sator to gather all 9 parts of the algorithm scattered across 9 different countries with nuclear weapons in one place, which he now does. Kat reveals that Sator is dying from pancreatic cancer, and they deduce he will trigger the algorithm with a dead man's switch, believing that the world should die with him. Kat believes Sator will kill himself during their vacation in Vietnam when they were last happy together. The Protagonist, Neil, Kat, and the Tenet forces invert back to that day so Kat can delay Sator's death while Tenet secures the algorithm.

Tenet tracks the assembled algorithm to Stalsk-12, located in Northern Siberia. They commence a "temporal pincer movement"; red team troops move forward in time, while the blue team troops move inverted. In Vietnam, Kat surreptitiously boards Sator's yacht when her earlier self goes ashore with her son. In Stalsk-12, the Protagonist and Ives are prevented from reaching the algorithm by a locked gate; an inverted masked corpse with a red trinket on its backpack springs to life, saves the Protagonist from a gunshot, and unlocks the gate. Kat, unable to let Sator die believing he succeeded, prematurely kills him just as the Protagonist and Ives secure the algorithm. Kat dives from the yacht's deck, witnessed by her earlier self.

The Protagonist, Neil, and Ives break up the algorithm's components and part ways. The Protagonist notices a red trinket on Neil's rucksack. Neil reveals that he was recruited by the Protagonist years earlier, and this mission is the end of a long friendship. In London, Priya attempts to have Kat assassinated, but is killed by the Protagonist, who has realised that he is the future mastermind behind Tenet.

Filming locations

Linnahall, Tallinn, Estonia,Amalfi, Italy,Gateway of India, Mumbai, India,Rødbyhavn, Denmark,Laagna Highway, Tallinn, Estonia,Maiori, Italy,Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy,Southampton, England, UK,Southern California Logistics Airport, Victorville, California, USA,National Liberal Club, Westminster, London, England, UK,Warner Bros Studios, Los Angeles, USA,Oslo Opera House, Oslo, Norway,Riverside County, California, USA,Pärnu Road, Tallinn, Estonia,Via Richard Wagner, Ravello, Italy,Cafe Mondegar, Colaba, Mumbai, India,Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy,Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Colaba, Mumbai, India,Colaba Causeway Market, Colaba, Mumbai, India,Planet Nine luxury yacht, Amalfi Coast, Italy,Tjuvholmen, Oslo, Norway

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tenet (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools