The trailer for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ is here, and it’s still impossible to figure out what the hell this movie is about. John David Washington plays some sort of cop or soldier or operative who is drugged and wakes up in “The Afterlife.” He somehow gets paired with Robert Pattinson and some stuff moves backward. Some are speculating that ‘Tenet’ involves time travel, or at least selective time reversal. Sounds good to me.
What I can say with certainty is that Nolan definitely has a signature style and that comes through in the trailer. It brings to mind Nolan’s previous hit ‘Inception’, not so much in content, but in the overall feel.
Take a gander for yourself:
This is not the first time that Nolan has played with time as a motif. Time factored into ‘Inception’ and ‘Dunkirk’ heavily, and ‘Memento’ took place in reverse time.
Speaking of reverse time, early in the trailer, it looks as though Washington dies from poisoning rather than give up his allies. He then wakes up in the hospital with Martin Donovan hovering over him. I originally thought that the poisoning was a trick to test him, but with this time manipulation idea, what probably actually happed is that he DID die from poisoning, only to have Donovan or someone else turn back the clock and bring him back to life.
Once he is back on his feet, Clémence Poésy’s character tells him his mission is to prevent World War III. When Washington suggests “Nuclear holocaust,” Poésy replies that it’s something worse.
Donovan tells Washington that he has one word that will open the right doors, and some wrong ones as well: “Tenet.” I looked it up, and that’s not a real word, so that offers no clues.
There is a shot of a boat moving backward, with the water moving around it in reverse. The clip ends with the most blatant use of this backward time thing, as a car flips upside down and is wrecked, only to flip over in reverse and wind up in perfect condition.
Well, there’s plenty of time before ‘Tenet’ comes out and surely more details will emerge before that. This first trailer, as cryptic as it is, does its job, because it makes you want to know more about what the hell is happening. But even without understanding just what this is about, it’s clear that this is another signature Nolan flick, stylish and challenging, and not something easily deciphered.
‘Tenet’ stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, Himesh Patel, Denzil Smith, and Martin Donovan, and opens in theaters on July 17, 2020.