On Edge: Anticipating Tenet


Christopher Nolan has solidified himself as one of the greatest directors of the 21st century, so naturally, his next project has been the subject of a great deal of excitement. This new project comes in the form of Tenet, due to finally be released on August 26th in the UK as part of a global rollout plan.

The release date itself has been given a great degree of interest due to it being pushed back several times already. These delays have been to ensure Tenet can still enter theatres worldwide and provide Warner Bros. with a reasonable return, but is also likely due to Nolan’s support of a cinematic release. All the way back in March Nolan authored an opinion piece in the Washington Post talking of the importance of cinemas, so this move to purposefully avoid a digital release likely comes at least in part at the behest of Nolan himself. There has been mention of them having a “desire to be one of the first big studio films back in theaters” to “show faith in the form and solidarity with exhibitors”. Given some companies’ lack of care towards cinemas, this attitude is particularly refreshing. Disney demanding a higher cut of ticket sales and charging ‘penalties’ for not playing The Last Jedi for four weeks in a cinemas largest screen is perhaps the most blatant example of this lack of care, it is also a move that particularly affects smaller theatres.

Tenet has stood somewhat separate from Nolan’s other films purely because of how little information has been shared. Two trailers have been released, but they feel like an attempt to purposefully obscure much meaningful information about the plot of the film. As far we know Tenet is an international espionage thriller, centred on preventing World War III through time manipulation. There’s a section in the trailer where the protagonist fires a gun at a wall, only for the bullet to return to his gun. Of interest is Nolan’s references to how the film, in its current incarnation, had been in the works for over six years, but some of the ideas date back further, having wanted to do a spy film since the beginning of his career. The lack of information has in many ways only served to generate more interest, many seeing it as possibly Nolan’s most complex yet. Interestingly the Tenet also does away with many of Nolan’s most used actors such as Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, instead opting for many he has never worked with before, like John David Washington (who is the central character) and Robert Pattinson. Michael Caine returns, however, who has seemingly become somewhat of a lucky charm for Nolan, appearing in eight of his eleven feature-length films.

This mystery has even translated across to the press’ treatment on set, Total Film reported that while they were usually given access to the entire storyboard of the film when visiting a set this was not the case for Tenet. There has been much discussion on the similarities between Tenet and Inception, another Nolan film with a strong connection to the effects of time, and the lack of information has only driven these theories further. However, this has been met with direct refutation from Nolan’s wife and long-time producer of all his movies Emma Thomas.

Nolan has described Tenet as “the most ambitious film we’ve made” so for any fan of Nolan’s films – or of the spy genre more broadly – Tenet is looking to be a contender for the best film of 2020, maybe even merely for its eventual presence in actual cinemas.

Tenet (2020), directed by Christopher Nolan, is distributed by Warner Bros., certificate 12A. Tenet is due to be released in cinemas on August 26th.



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