Tenet: Everything You Need to Know

"All I have for you is a word - TENET"

Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated new thriller TENET is out now at ODEON. In any other year, this is a film that would stand out as a spectacular cinematic event. But with the film finally hitting cinemas, Summer 2020 finally has its first truly epic, big-screen blockbuster – and we’re all sorts of super excited.

Don’t know what TENET is? Curious why you’ve heard it mentioned in the news?

Or do you want to get yourself back up to speed before booking tickets for the cinema experience of 2020?

We’ve got your back with everything you need to know from TENET’s cast, premise, trailers and tantalising theories. Enjoy…

After a series of understandable release date delays, director Christopher Nolan’s TENET has a confirmed UK release date of 26 August 2020. If you’re wondering why a single film release has attracted so much speculation in the news we have the answer.

Christopher Nolan is a film director who firmly believes in the magic of cinema – the experience of seeing movies, with others, on the big screen. As such (and as it has been with all of his films from The Dark Knight to Dunkirk), every element of TENET has been conceived, created and tuned to give cinema-goers the optimal viewing experience.

That’s why TENET is a big deal. It’s a spectacular action thriller that’s been designed to give audiences all the feels and keep ‘em on the edge of their seats with its mind-bending plot, incredible practical set-pieces and truly immersive surround sound.

TENET plot: what’s it all about?


True to form, Christopher Nolan has constructed a multilayered plot for TENET that’s not so much ‘A to B’ as it is ‘Z to Q via D, R, 9 and a mirror image of A that looks like a regular A but is really the ghost of a memory of an inverted dream… or is it?’
And, frankly, we and all the other Nolanheads wouldn’t have it any other way. However, there is an official (and tantalisingly vague) TENET synopsis and it reads:
"Armed with only one word – Tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel. Inversion."

TENET trailers: what we know so far

Watch the two TENET trailers carefully and you’ll start to see evidence of what time inversion actually means in the film’s twisty story.

Some characters experience an event through the regular flow of time, while others experience the same event backwards from the future to the past.

Guns that ‘catch’ bullets rather than fire them; fights that flow from aftermath to first punch – it’s all here and it’s only going to get more trippy as you watch.


TENET cast: who’s in it?

TENET sees a predictably top-flight cast bringing its A-game to the big screen. Do you remember how awesome John David Washington was in 2018’s BlacKkKlansman? Christopher Nolan clearly did – the actor stars as the mysterious, nameless operative known only as the ‘Protagonist’.

Assisting The Protagonist in his mission to try and prevent World War III is Robert Pattinson’s British operative, Neil. Christopher Nolan recently described Neil as ‘slightly rascally’. That certainly gels with the Twilight and The Lighthouse star’s deadpan trailer reveal of a plan to taxi a Boeing 747 into an airport terminal building. The scamp!

Elizabeth Debicki (Widows, Peter Rabbit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) plays the estranged wife of Kenneth (Dunkirk, Murder on the Orient Express) Branagh’s Russian oligarch.

Much remains a mystery about these two, but it seems Debicki’s character is key to the Protagonist’s mission to unravel her husband’s sinister plan to employ physics-bending time inversion technology to some potentially Armageddon-triggering end.

Completing TENET’s rock-solid cast are Clémence Poésy as Laura, a scientist who teaches The Protagonist about the startling time inversion tech; Aaron Taylor Johnson (Avengers: Age of Ultron) as Junior, a character we’ve not even glimpsed as yet (and whom we’re nominating as the perfect catalyst for a massive TENET plot twist); Himesh Patel (Yesterday) as Ahmad – a mysterious ally – and, of course, Nolan’s good luck charm and undisputed acting legend, Sir Michael Caine.


TENET: 5 things to get really excited about

1. Christopher Nolan loves practical effects over CGI.

The Boeing 747 you see crashing during the second trailer? That sequence was going to be shot with miniatures until, while location scouting, his team saw scores of planes parked at the Southern California Logistics Airport outside of Victorville, California.

One ‘impulse buy’ (and a lot of planning later) they filmed the explosive set-piece for real at the airport!

Just imagine the fun Nolan had with that playground.

Now, imagine the gasps around you as you see it on a giant ODEON IMAX screen

2. TENET is also responsible for one of the largest-scale outdoor builds ever for a film: a large, ruined city built around 80 miles east of Palm Springs, California. It’s rumoured to be featured in an epic car chase, and was populated by hundreds of extras in military gear.

3. TENET’s soundtrack is composed by exciting Swedish composer – and regular Ryan Coogler collaborator – Ludwig Göransson (Creed, Creed II, Black Panther). The scores to Nolan films are always intricately woven into the action so we’re very excited to hear how Göransson brings TENET’s time inversion theme to life.

4. TENET is a truly globe-trotting thriller, so even if 2020 has curtailed most of your travel, a trip to see TENET at ODEON will take you to Estonia, Italy, India, Denmark, Norway, the US and back home to the UK. And all without leaving your comfy ODEON seat.

5. Last but by no means least, for Christopher Nolan himself, TENET pushes new boundaries:

“I think of all the films that I’ve made, this is perhaps the one that is most designed for the audience experience, the big-screen experience.

This is a film whose image and sound really needs to be enjoyed in your theaters on the big screen and we’re very very excited for you to see what it is we’ve done.”

Well, you heard the man…

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