The new Tenet trailer released earlier this week, and in true Nolan fashion, the footage leaves us with more questions than answers. To help clear up some of the mystery, the official website for Warner Bros. has released a synopsis for the film, which can be read below.
John David Washington is the new Protagonist in Christopher Nolan’s original sci-fi action spectacle Tenet. Armed with only one word-Tenet-and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel. Inversion. The international cast of “Tenet” also includes Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, with Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.
So the protagonist of the film is named…Protagonist? Unless the character, played by John David Washington, was raised by excruciatingly post-modern hipster parents, Nolan has made the deliberate decision to leave the main character in Tenet nameless. If the filmmaker’s past movies are any indication, this means that the role of the protagonist might be played by several different characters at separate instances, or John David Washington’s character himself might be switching sides a few times as the plot unfolds.
The other interesting point is the reference to the central conceit of the plot: Time inversion. Speculations had been rampant for some time now that Tenet involves time travel, but both the synopsis and the trailer are careful to specify that the film is not about time travel.
Instead, time inversion may be a reference to the concept of retrocausality found in science. It refers to the phenomena of effect occurring before causation, meaning you see the result of an action before you actually perform the action.
We see something similar happening in the trailer, where bullet holes appear before a gun fires, and vehicles appear to be moving backward, which led to the previous theories about time travel. So it can be surmised that the film will involve characters being able to jump ahead a few minutes into the future, observe the negative effects of a particular course of action, and jump back into the present to change the action for a more positive outcome.
Part of the fun of a Nolan movie is seeing mind-bending concepts play out on the big screen, and Tenet is being seen as an important test subject for Hollywood to gauge whether audiences are willing to return to theaters to watch movies. Thus, the film is still on track for a theatrical release on July 17. Whether it will be able to make the date, or it will be postponed, or ultimately consigned to a digital PVOD release remains to be seen.
For now, fans can enjoy rewatching the trailer for the movie to pick up on any hints or clues they may have missed. Or simply enjoy the chemistry showcased by the movie’s international cast, led by John David Washinton and Robert Pattinson. This news comes direct from Warner Bros.