Tenet Trailer Breakdown

Time out. WTF is going on?
© Warner Bros.

It’s a movie so big they stuck the latest trailer on a pixelated hillside for all the Fortnite-loving world to see for..reasons. Still, now we’ve got the latest preview to the film that will have cinemagoers reconsider their own personal safety if its release goes ahead as planned. Yes, Christopher Nolan’s next mind-cracking time-tweaking heist effort, Tenet, has dropped a brand new trailer before its ‘arrival’ on July 17, and with not so long to go, we still don’t know what the hell is going on. Looks sick though, eh?

Armed with only one word — Tenet — and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. 

If that and the preview doesn’t give you enough of a nose bleed, then well done you. Upon the ten(et) hundredth review of the latest tease, here’s just some important snippets that have got the cogs turning over what Mr Nolan has in store for us. Read on, as time is of the essence.

John David Washington is the most intense Uber driver ever.

The Man Out Of Time

No stranger to sending the clocks back with the likes of Interstellar and Memento, Tenet doesn’t look to be just some fancy time-travelling cinematic effort – that would be far too easy for him. This instead will focus on time inversion (more on that later), with John David Washington’s ‘Protagonist’ being our main watchmen. 

“To do what I do, I need some idea of the threat we face,” he explains to lady in the lab coat, Clémence Poésy, which might suggest that he’s been playing around in this plain of existence for a while now. As this chit-chat continues, Washington looks to be assessing a collection of fragments that have been stored away before the piece flies into his hand. Are these from an incident that has yet to happen? Given that one meets Washington, did he already put it there? Does anyone have any ibuprofen? My head is doing cartwheels.


A Lucky Charm & A Bond Villain

The trademark talent that Nolan hasn’t been without since The Prestige (which we love if you’ve listened to podcast), Michael Caine, is shown here having words with our hero over a nice cuppa. It was confirmed by Caine himself, that this is the only scene he’s done and he knows about as much as us. In an interview back in March, Nolan’s long-running lucky charm, Sir Michael Caine explained that the director, “is so secretive he won’t let me have the script. All I had was one day’s work and he gave me my pages. I did my part and shot only with John David. I haven’t heard anything since.”

On first inspection, Caine looks to be a middle man for our hero to get to his target being discussed. Sir Kenneth Branagh is the ‘Russian national’ who ‘can communicate with the future’ and is using it for nefarious means. I mean we’re not sure how nefarious but he looks like a Bond villain and sounds like one too. Sorry for judging. 

Pattinson doing his talking teapot impression.

The Second Hand 

If John David Washington’s hero is a man that already spends his time outside of our own, we’re going too need an in. Someone to nod along when stuff gets too complex and help our hero in this minute-to-minute madness. Enter the Dark Knight rising, Robert Pattinson as Washington’s partner in time crime who, we don’t have the name of but looks bloody good in a scarf.

Much like Ellen Page in Inception, Pattinson in Tenet looks to be the new recruit in this ‘twilight world’ (they said it, not us) as he tries to wrap his head around this brand new perk his character can play with. Not time travel, dear reader. Oh no. Time ‘inversion’. What does that mean? Well to ‘invert’ is to put something in the opposite position, which would explain why our hero is catching bullets and falling into the top floor of a building from the ground up, obviously. But how far could this be stretched? Could someone die and live again? Could the very air you breath be exhaled constantly rather than the other way around (hence the masks in that timey-wimey shootout)? Only Nolan has the answer.

Kenneth Branagh is Mr Bad Guy.

Cometh The Hour…

Back to bad Branagh and there’s an intense showdown with him and our hero that brings some mild chills. Reuniting with Nolan following that fairly big war flick, Dunkirk, here he looks to be channelling a similar vibe from his turn in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Honestly though, he’s nailing it here.

Here he is asking our hero how he’d like to die (see, Bond villain), to which Washington replies ‘old’, right before we see that signature chase scene that sees cars right themselves after taking a tumble. Branagh takes a beat and advises our hero that he’s ‘in the wrong profession’. A cool line to throw into any espionage adventure? Sure. But could all this time manipulation see those involved going all Benjamin Button to save the world? Reading too much into it? Okay, moving on.

Time Flies

From there the trailer ramps up the thrills, spills and time adjustments as John David Washington gets in a scuffle in reverse, a shootout unfolds in a concert hall of unconscious attendees and buildings go boom giving any Nolan know-it-all flashbacks of The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception

It’s just another display of one of our greatest directors being able to rattle our brains and our senses in equal amount, before one final question; “this reversing the flow of time – doesn’t us being here now mean it never happened?” Even with this in mind, what’s your bet this will end on another ambiguous note that hasn’t rocked film fans since DiCaprio spun a totem? We’ll have to wait and see when Tenet arrives in cinemas July 17. 

Oh yeah, there’s also talk of crashing a plane – but not in the air, because that would be too dramatic. 

What else caught your eye with the brand new Tenet trailer, let us know in the comments or tweet us @ReelgoodUK.