TENET, which debuted in movie theaters at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, became available on the streaming service HBO Max on May 1, 2021.
The mind-bending film, directed by Christopher Nolan, reached the big screen in December.
John David Washington in TenetCredit: Alamy
What is Tenet about?
Tenet was described by The Sun as “a giant, bombastic, gorgeous film to remind us of everything cinema can offer us.”
It features a main character who “journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time,” according to the movie’s IMDb page.
The film was helmed by Nolan, who directed the Dark Knight trilogy, Memento, Inception, Dunkirk, and others.
A scene from TenetCredit: Alamy
The Sun describes Tenet in a review “as so damned confusing and difficult to follow, you have no choice but to watch it more than once – but I doubt even he would take that risk.”
Nolan is doing a Bond film “with elements from Inception and Memento thrown in for good measure,” according to The Sun.
Tenet’s cast includes John David Washington, Juhan Ulfsak, Andrew Howard, Twilight star Robert Pattinson, and others.
Elizabeth Debicki and John David Washington in TenetCredit: AP
What happens in Tenet?
The prologue sees the main character, known as The Protagonist, choose to take his own life rather than fail his team.
But he’s saved by an individual who welcomes him to “the afterlife” and offers him a single word: Tenet.
The new world he’s found himself in moves backwards in time – and this includes bullets.
There is a fear that an “inverted weapon” from the future could affect their past.
The Protagonist tracks the bullets to Andrei Sator, who is played by Kenneth Branagh, uses Sator’s abused wife Kat, who is played by Elizabeth Debicki, to learn more about Sator.
A scene from TenetCredit: Warner Bros
Sator doesn’t trust the Protagonist and cuts him out of a deal they were doing, so the Protagonist and Neil (played by Robert Pattinson) steal the plutonium before Sator can.
However, Sator appears during the heist in an inverted car and threatens to kill Kat in order to force the Protagonist to give up the Plutonium.
Sator and his gang are able to go backwards and forwards in time to ensure they get the result they want, as they will know exactly how the Protagonist will react and what will happen.
Before he gets the plutonium from the past Protagonist, he shoots Kat with an inverted bullet.
Then a military unit turns up, led by Ives (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and it’s revealed Neil knows more about the Protagonist and is himself part of the Tenet organisation.
Kenneth Branagh in TenetCredit: Supplied by LMK
Sator wasn’t actually after the plutonium, he wanted the algorithm that would change the world’s entropy – which would put it in reverse and eventually lead to the end of civilisation.
To stop Sator and to save Kat’s life, the Protagonist, Neil and Ives’ team invert themselves and start moving back in time.
He’s unable to stop Sator as the crashed car he saw earlier during the heist was actually his crashed car in his inverted pursuit.
So Kat can heal, the Protagonist heads to Oslo as there are “time stile” machines there.
A big twist is that the person the Protagonist fought was actually his future self.
Now they have gone through the machine at the free port, they are in the past but moving forward through time normally.
The issue is that Sator’s algorithm plan is going to happen in the past and he will either bury it in his previous hometown or set off the algorithm – by exploding bombs.
It’s then discovered that Sator is dying of terminal cancer and plans on killing himself on his yacht when he knows his past self isn’t there and will then activate the world-destroying algorithm.
The good guys attempt to lift the algorithm before the bomb explodes, while Kat heads to the yacht to stop her husband from killing himself.
The team work backwards around the explosion while the other team work forwards.
Neil goes back through the port in order to help the red team, before inverting and returning to help the blue team.
The moment of revelation comes when Neil reveals that it was the The Protagonist who recruited him in the future.
So – Neil realises that he must go back to the inverted side, so he can take the bullet destined for The Protagonist. Confused? Us too, at this point.
But the movie’s epilogue explains that The Protagonist was the one who actually started Tenet in the first place – then recruited Neil and his past self, who doesn’t know that his future self is the one who started it all.
In the closing moments of the film, The Protagonist stops Priya from killing Kat ‘to clear up loose ends’.