Tenet Explained: All You Need to Know about New Nolan’s Movie

The plot of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has been one of 2020’s most intriguing mysteries. Tenet, the latest film by Christopher Nolan, is quite confusing. Turns out the plot of this movie is also a mystery to people who have liked it. Join Virlan to know everything about the movie.

New Nolan’s Movie: Tenet

Christopher Nolan put a lot of work into making a big movie.

Thrilling and ingenious and action-packed, but also deeply demanding on your grey matter. With all sorts of time-twiddling twists that can make it tricky to decipher who’s moving forward in time, who’s moving backwards in time, and when exactly things are taking place. It’s, fittingly, the most brain-blagging blockbuster since, well, Inception and Interstellar.

Thanks to frenetic cinematography and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it editing, even those who like the film have to admit they have no idea what’s going on half the time.

What is Tenet?

It’s a word, and a gesture. And, as The Protagonist (John David Washington) comes to learn, Tenet is the name of the secret organization which want to prevent the temporal apocalypse.

What is Tenet about?

In what is arguably the most ambitious and complex film by Christopher Nolan so far, Tenet follows an unnamed CIA agent played by a cool, calm, and collected John David Washington.

The film opens guns blazing, literally. A symphony performance in Kiev is under attack and the unnamed CIA agent, dreadfully referred to in the film as The Protagonist, is sent undercover to retrieve a colleague and a strange artifact.

The Protagonist is captured and tortured, unwilling to disclose any information. He swallows a cyanide pill in an attempt to take his own life. He survives and wakes up to find out the cyanide pill was fake. The artifact was taken, and his allegiance to the agency has caused him to be adopted into a top-secret assignment known as Tenet.

This assignment leads him to a secretive facility in which The Protagonist learns about the threat they face — inversion.

What is inversion? As we experience reality, we see objects and their entropy as they move forward in time. However, objects have been found in which their material has been inverted, causing them to move backward through time.

The Excellent Nolan's movie tenet

Tenet’s Plot

While this is obvious in the scene with a bullet, the real threat appears to be inverted nuclear weapons.

The Protagonist teams up with Neil, played by a witty Robert Pattinson. The duo tracks down the source of these inverted objects to a Russian arms dealer named Andrei (Kenneth Branagh). To get closer to the ultra-wealthy and acutely suspicious Andrei, The Protagonist enlists the help of Andrei’s wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki). Kat loathes her abusive husband because of his threat to take her son away if she disobeys him.

Without diving into specifics and ending spoilers, what ensues is The Protagonist’s persistent attempt to prevent Andrei’s malicious plan of using inversion technology to end the world. All of which is framed by and achieved through inverted action scenes that have never been seen on the big screen.

When does Tenet take place?

Today, tomorrow, yesterday, and a number of points in-between. Overall, it’s set (roughly) in the present day, but the start of the film isn’t necessarily the start of the story. The Protagonist’s investigation into Sator (Kenneth Branagh) goes forward a few days. Then, the story reverses on itself as the characters ‘invert’ themselves into the past, resulting in a climactic battle that takes place around the same time as the beginning.

Ultimately, the film ends on the same day it begins. The film’s timeline, just like its title, is a palindrome.