Thanks to his trilogy of Batman movies, and films like INCEPTION and MEMENTO, Christopher Nolan has become one of the most popular filmmakers in the world. He makes heady, ambitious movies that also do very well at the box office. That equation means that Nolan gets to do more or less whatever he wants. His new film is called TENET, a somewhat strange title that other filmmakers might not be able to get away with.
Furthermore, Nolan and Warner Bros. have been slow to release details about TENET. We do know a fair amount, however. Here's everything we know so far, but keep in mind that this is a movie about secrets and espionage, and that sense of mystery extends to nearly everything about the film itself.
[Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
Christopher Nolan's new movie will be released on July 17, 2020. That's not so long to wait, but still, the TENET release date seems like it's pretty far in the future. That, in part, is because we know so little about the film.
[Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
Here's what we know about the plot and story of TENET. It is "an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage." That's all we've got. That sentence comes from the "start of production" memo from Warner Bros.
We do know that Nolan wrote the script, as he often does, and that actors such as Robert Pattinson could only read the TENET script in isolation, to avoid plot leaks. "I got locked in a room to read the script," Pattinson told USA Today. We also know, from the production memo, that Nolan is filming in seven countries, with IMAX and 70mm cameras, as he did on DUNKIRK, pictured above. That means TENET will be released, per Nolan's preference, in premium-format theatres such as Cinemark XD.
[Image Credit: Focus Features]
There is no online trailer for TENET. The first teaser was shown only in theatres; it was attached to the release of FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW in August 2019. The TENET footage in that first teaser showed the character played by John David Washington (seen above in BLACKKKLANSMAN) seemingly inspecting bullet holes in glass — but we don't know what the footage means, exactly. Is he an investigator, or something else? The first TENET teaser also plays out a bit like a palindrome, as the footage loops around on itself.
We're still waiting for that teaser to be officially released online. In fact, not only is there no online trailer, there are no official images from TENET at this point. There's not even a poster! Anything you see online at this point is fan-made.
[Image Credit: A24]
A "tenet" is a core principle or belief, especially with respect to deep pursuits like religion and philosophy. (The Ten Commandments are tenets of Christianity, for example.) What does the definition of the title mean for this movie? Great question! If the main character is indeed an investigator of some sort, we could see "tenet" meaning the core idea of a case or the main principle by which the character goes about his work. Since the film is said to have an espionage aspect, "tenet" could also apply to beliefs about how information is being relayed — and then what happens if those beliefs turn out to be wrong?
[Image Credit: Pathe Distribution]
In addition to the aforementioned John David Washington and Robert Pattinson (seen two images above, in HIGH LIFE), TENET also features Elizabeth Debicki (seen above in VITA & VIRGINIA), Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Clémence Poésy, with Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh. That's an interesting lineup, and with the exception of Caine and Branagh, it is mostly made up of actors who are new to Nolan's films. The director has established a pattern of working with actors more than once, but for TENET he has a fairly fresh ensemble.
We're eager to learn a lot more about TENET, but the slow reveal of the film's story is actually a lot of fun. Just think about how we typically know so much about any given movie before it opens. Nolan's previous film, DUNKIRK, was a wonderful surprise because we knew so little about the filmmaker's adventurous approach to a war movie. That holds true for this film, too, and we can't wait for the lights to go down next summer, so Christopher Nolan can surprise us again with TENET.