TENET Detailed Review

Sat 05th Sep 2020 07:03 AM

TENET released few days back in Canada

TENET film review
TENET film review

Christopher Nolan's Tenet film released in Canada on 26th Aug 2020. Following 'detailed review' was written by Kishore from Canada, movie buff and does research on Cinema. In this movie he tried to explain as much as he can which is needed before watching Nolan's films for the most. 

>T E N E T is inspired by the below movies in plot:  


·      Minority report (2002)

·      Primer (2004) – I think this is the most inspiring film for Nolan to shoot Inception and  T E N E T though he never admitted anywhere. The most complicated movie to watch.

·      Predestination (2014)

Preparatory things to watch before understanding T E N E T:

·   Watch all  YouTube  Interviews of Christopher Nolan on this movie


Punch line – It is a Christopher Nolan James Bond movie


A CIA secret agent mission to save the world.


This movie is not about time travel but about time inversion. ఆదిత్య 369 సినిమాలో బాలకృష్ణ time machine లో వెళ్లి శ్రీకృష్ణదేవరాయలు కాలంలోకి వెళ్తాడు.
అంటే ఒక్కసారిగా 400 సంవత్సరాలు వెనుకకు వెళ్ళాడు. If he has to go in T E N E T movie, Balakrishna has to live all the 400 years in reverse to go to Vijayanagara Empire. In the movie, there are portals that allow characters used to become inverted in time, which are known as “turnstiles.” machines. After going through them, you can move backwards in time from the point you entered. From this point, once you enter another one, you shall move forward from the point in time you have travelled back to, meaning two versions of the same person will exist simultaneously.  

Terminology you need to know before watching T E N E T:

The below terminology and meaning is told by different characters in the movie. For your prior understanding I am listing down some concepts in physics, paradox and cinematic elements.


In physics, entropy is the amount of disorder in a system and it can only flow in one direction. ఉదాహరణకి నెయ్యి తీసుకోండి.  
పాలు కాసిపెరుగు చేసిమజ్జిగ చిలికివెన్న తీసికాచి నెయ్యిగా చేస్తారు . 
కానీ వీటి అన్నిటిని వెనుకకు కలిపి తిరిగి పాలు చేయలేము. That's entropy. Then what is reverse entropy? 

నెయ్యి వెనుకకు వెళ్లి పాలుగా తయారు అవ్వటం.
 క్రమంలో వెన్నపెరుగుమజ్జిగ కనుమరుగవుతాయి.
Meaning, you are overriding the past. In one of You tube interview, Nolan said “if you could invert the flow of entropy for an object, you could reverse the flow of time for that object.”

Temporal pincer movement:

In short, a Temporal Pincer Movement is when one person goes back in time and informs someone else in the past how events will unfold in their future. The non-inverted person can then go "forward" through time with the knowledge of what's about to happen.

Grandfather paradox:

The grandfather paradox is a paradox of time travel in which inconsistencies emerge through changing the past. Let’s say you don’t want to be born in this world. You travel through time and kill your own Grandfather before your Grandfather is able to have a child – your father – you would stop yourself from ever being born. But then, if you're not born, how would you be able to go back in time to kill your Grandfather? It's a paradox with no answer.

Time Stiles:  

In the film’s world, there are portals that allow characters used to become inverted in time, which are known as “turnstiles”. After going through them, you can move backwards in time from the point you entered. From this point, once you enter another one, you shall move forward from the point in time you have travelled back to, meaning two versions of the same person will exist simultaneously.

Perspective based on travelling with time:

There is no 'natural' movement to time. Human beings perceive time as  specific wat that is going ‘forward’. Let’s say an apple is falling down from the tree, a normal person perspective is apple falling down to the ground, but from the perspective of an inverted person moving forward apple is ascending to the tree.


An unknown female scientist in the future invents an algorithm. This algorithm is a piece of technology that can reverse the entropy of the entire planet. If activated, it would cause everything to invert, wiping out the past, time, and everyone who ever existed. She splits the algorithm in to nine pieces and hides each piece back in time using inversion. Planet earth in the future is devastated by global warming and some bad people of the future wants to end the world by using the reverse entropy bomb hoping that, by destroying a past version of the world, the future will change so that climate change never happened. These bad people in the future has to find these nine pieces as they were all sent to past by the scientist. How these bad people from the future try to find these nine pieces and collectively activate it and how this is prevented by Organization called T E N E T to stop the end of the world forms the plot of the story.



The movie starts with an opening sequence where the CIA agent, the protagonist (John David Washington) is tasked to spoil a terrorist siege and retrieve an object. The operation fails and the protagonist is captured and tortured for information.  He pop cyanide pill in to his mouth.  Surprise, he wakes up not-dead and recruited in to a secret organization called T E N E T by a character (Martin Donovan)telling him ‘ welcome to after life ‘ . T E N E T scientist (Clemence Poesy) have discovered mysterious objects, such as bullets, that can move backward through timeThe protagonist learns that he is meant to stop something worse that involves’ Inversion’ in which objects moves backward in timeThe protagonist traces back the clues to Indian arms dealer priya (Dimple Kapadia). The protagonist with the help of another operative Neil (Robert Pattison) confront priya for the source of the bullets. She points to another arms dealer Andrei sator (Kenneth Branagh) who is communicating with the future on the reverse entropy technology. The protagonist meets Sator wife Kat (Eizabeth Debicki). He discover that sator is also black mailing Kat and her son for selling a forged painting which could land her in jail. The forged painting is held in Oslo Freeport. To free Kat of black mailing from sator they promise Kate to steal the forged painting and in turn she should help them to arrange a meeting with Sator. The protagonist and Neil plan an elaborate heist which involves crashing an aero plane in to the Oslo airport as a diversion to steal the forged painting. The protagonist lies to Kat that the painting was destroyed and she arranges a meeting with Sator. The protagonist agrees to steal plutonium for Sator from an armoured car in exchange of Kat freedom. The operation is success but realizes it is another piece of artifact in the algorithm. They handle the case without the piece. Sator and his gang knew about this as they are working on both sides of the time known as temporal pincel movement using ‘temporal stile’ holds Kat at gun point and coerce protagonist to surrender plutonium location. Neil call the Special Forces led by Ives (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) part of T E N E T team. Ives explain they can only save Kat by going reverse in time. They do that and the protagonist is after sator preventing to get it. But the protagonist couldn’t succeed. The plutonium is lost. Now Sator plan is revealed, he is recruited by in his youth by the bad people of the future when his hometown was destroyed by a nuclear blast to find all nine pieces and bring them all back together. Sator was able to find all the nine pieces and activate the algorithm using the plutonium device. To stop Sator and to save Kat's life, the Protagonist, Neil and Ives' team invert themselves and start moving back in time. The Protagonist is warned that he can't meet his past self and he needs special breathing apparatus as he's inverted, but "the world's not". To give Kat time to heal, they make their way to Oslo, as they know there's another of the "time stile" machines there, knowing they can get in when they originally created the diversion. Having gone through the machine at the free port, they're now in the past, but moving forward through time normally. Sator wishes to bring an end to everything as he has terminal pancreatic cancer, and believes if he has to die, then everything should die with himThe problem is that Sator plans to activate the algorithm in the past when he is happy with his wife. Kat reveals that sator is last seen happy on a trip to Vietnam. Sator buried the algorithm under several bombs in his former home town in Russia. The triggering of algorithm happens when he himself dies, as the algorithm is linked to a dead-switch activated by his fitness tracker. The Protagonist, Neil and Ives set out on a mission to lift the algorithm before the bomb explodes, while Katsimultaneously travels back to yacht in Vietnam to stop Sator killing himself before they've succeeded. T E N E T team secures the algorithm before the explosion at the Hypocenter and before Kat kills SatorThe algorithm device is split into three pieces, and taken by The Protagonist, Ives, and Neil. The three intend to hide the components from future threats, prevent the knowledge spreading. . At the end of the film, it turns out that Pattinson's character Neil has acute knowledge of the future.  In fact, it was The Protagonist who inverted himself in the future and began the Tenet operation, recruiting Neil in the process, revealing that they have in fact known each other for years. In the final scene, The Protagonist reveals to Priya that he is the leader of T E N E T that he will set up in the future, and so in effect recruited both himself and Priya. He then shoots and kills her, as she remains a threat to the life of Kat. People with knowledge of time inversion are seen as a threat by T E N E T and should be eliminated. The 'current' version of the Protagonist will therefore be marching towards that future moment.


I am not an expert giving verdict on Nolan films, but there is a lot of confusion or I didn’t understand the film. I understood only 50 percent of the film.  Hearing dialogues is most important in the film otherwise you don’t understand the basics in this movie. You have to pay attention to the conversation of the actors. Most of the plot and the underlying technology is revealed through conversation between the characters. It is like listening to university physics class. My opinion is Nolan films are good if there is a help in screenplay by his brother or some other writers. T E N E T is a solo credit. The background music is loud and sometimes you can’t hear clearly the conversation between the characters. As the scientist character say in the film “Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.”