A new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s much anticipated film, Tenet, recently dropped (on Fortnite of all places). Nolan fan boys tend to overpraise his work, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most exciting voices working in modern big budget films. Tenet looks wholly unique, action packed, and seems to be a natural extension of his career thus far. One can watch the trailer multiple times and still not get a good sense of the plot. This isn’t a bad thing; many modern trailers give too much away. The trailer below gives additional snippets, little big moments, which help sell the movie as a must see event.
The official synopsis reads, “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 filmmakers are making it clear that this is not a traditional time travel film, but are instead introducing this idea of “inversion.” It’s clear from the trailer that Tenet will be playing with time (and assumedly with its own linear plot). The title being an obvious palindrome plays into this as well.
Tenet sells itself as an action packed flick. That freeway set piece is already looking like it’s going to be one for the books. The IMAX promo late last year gave audiences a taste of the concert sequence from the film. If that’s any indication of the rest of the picture, we’re in for a real treat.
The film stars John David Washington, the son of Denzel Washington, who is blazing his own path to super stardom. Robert Pattinson, who is also set to play the new Batman in The Batman (2021), has more lines in this trailer. He’s using his real voice for once, as opposed to the American accent he often has to use. Elizabeth Debicki (Widows) looks to be playing a prominent role as well. Michael Caine, one of Nolan’s consistent collaborators, is a welcome return for this movie. Also there’s Kenneth Branagh, who seems to be the antagonist of this story.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who gave a seriously underrated performance in the film Nocturnal Animals (2016) that deserves more attention and praise, is also part of the cast. Yet he’s missing from the trailers. This makes it seem as if he will either have a small appearance, akin to Matt Damon’s role in Nolan’s Interstellar (2014), or he could be a bigger piece of the puzzle that Nolan doesn’t want to reveal just yet.
One thing that did take away from the excitement of the trailer was some of the expository dialogue. The lines come off stilted out of context (but to be fair, it could just be how the trailer is cut). The reasoning for these lines is clear. Without them, the trailer would just be a bunch of backwards action with no real context. The lines may work better in the context of the scene and overall film. Nolan’s propensity to over explain and deliver too much exposition through dialogue are valid criticisms though. Let’s hope he doesn’t fall into these pitfalls with Tenet.
Interestingly, the current July 17th release date was not shown in the trailer. It seems that shifting the release date will be a last minute decision. Nolan is sticking to his guns, but the likelihood of a release shift rises with each passing day. Could this be the film that saves the lacking 2020 blockbuster summer, or could it be another anticipated movie that’s moved to the second half of the year?
Utilizing the title card “coming to cinemas” is an admirable move. Even his detractors should commend Nolan on this at least. Especially in the age of coronavirus, where many movies are going straight to streaming and VOD. We need big movies like this to draw people back to theaters when they do eventually reopen. It’s understandable that Warner Bros will not ignore the dangers and risks of the looming July release date. If it comes to that, Tenet can surely find a suitable replacement release date.
Based on the trailer, this is a movie that needs to be seen on the biggest screen and in the best presentation possible. I know I will be getting my 70mm tickets as soon as they go on sale and it’s safe to do so.