Movie Name: Tenet
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
IMDB Rating: 7.9
IMDB Vote: 69906
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7.4
Google Rating: 8.8
Budget ($): 22,50,00,000
World-wide Gross ($):
Movie Length (Minute): 150
Editor: Jennifer Lame
Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson as Neil, Elizabeth Debicki as Kat, Dimple Kapadia, Martin Donovan as Victor, Fiona Dourif, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Himesh Patel, Clémence Poésy, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh
Plot: An unnamed CIA agentreferred to as “The Protagonist”participates in an undercover SWAT operation at a Kiev opera house, rescuing an exposed spy and capturing a strange artifact. He is saved from being shot by a masked soldier with a distinctive red tag on his rucksack, who appears to have “un-fired” a bullet through the terrorist (thus killing him). The Protagonist is captured by a Russian agent and tortured to reveal his mission objectives, before he catches an opportunity and consumes a cyanide pill. He later awakens and learns the mission was a test and that the pill was fake. He is also informed that the same organization that captured him stole the artifact and killed all his colleagues from the mission. In order to combat the people who killed his colleagues, the Protagonist’s boss points him to a secret organisation called “Tenet”, leading him to Laura, a scientist studying bullets whose entropy has been “inverted” so that they move backward through time.
The Protagonist traces the bullets to Priya Singh, a Mumbai arms dealer. With the help of Neil, a supposed local, the Protagonist, together with Neil infiltrates Priya’s compound and learns she is a member of Tenet. She informs the Protagonist that the bullets were supplied by a Russian oligarch Andrei Sator, who is communicating with the future. The Protagonist then goes to London, where he shares a lunch with Priya’s contact in the British intelligence. He tells the Protagonist that the best way to get close to Sator is through his wife Kat, who is an art appraiser, and that she has sold Sator a fake drawing by Francisco Goya, created by the art forger Arepo, possibly knowing that it was a forgery. He then meets with Kat, and learns that Sator is blackmailing her with the forged drawing she had sold him to keep her from their son, Max. She mentions that the last time she and Sator were truly happy was on their yacht in Vietnam, up to the point where they had an argument. Shortly after that she saw another woman dive off the ship and envied her for being free. The Protagonist agrees to help Kat get her freedom back by destroying the painting, which is kept at a storage facility at Oslo Airport.
The Protagonist and Neil work with a fixer named Mahir to steal the drawing by crashing a Boeing 747 into the hangar as a diversion. Inside the facility, they find a machine from which two masked men emerge, one of which is inverted and starts fighting with the Protagonist while another (forward, not inverted) runs past Neil. He chases after the masked man and is able to unmask him, whose face is not shown. Neil runs back to The Protagonist in time and stops him from killing the inverted one, before he appears to be “sucked away” through the door. Perplexed by the experience, The Protagonist travels to meet Priya for answers. She later explains that the machine is a “Turnstile”, a device developed in the future capable of inverting the entropy of anything that goes through it, and that the two masked men were the same person.
Believing that the drawing has been destroyed, Kat arranges a meeting between the Protagonist and Sator. Later that night Sator reveals to Kat that he had the drawing removed from the storage before the crash. Kat attempts to drown him during a boating trip, forcing the Protagonist to intervene and save him. Afterwards, the Protagonist offers to steal a case of plutonium Sator desires in exchange for Kat’s freedom, to which Sator agrees.
The Protagonist and Neil succeed in stealing the “plutonium” from an armoured convoy in Tallinn, but realise that it is actually another artifact. An inverted Sator intervenes and a car chase ensues. The inverted Sator takes the artifact, captures the Protagonist and Kat, and takes them to another Turnstile. There, an inverted Sator walks out of the turnstile and demands the Protagonist tell him the location of the artifact. The Protagonist gives him a false location of the artifact before Sator shoots Kat with an inverted bullet. A normal Sator then arrives and demands the location of the artifact as the inverted Sator leaves. Immediately afterwards, a team of Tenet operatives arrive, free the Protagonist, and force the normal Sator to flee into his Turnstile. Shortly thereafter, the Protagonist follows him to prevent him from retrieving the artifact, but accidentally ends up helping him take it while inverted. With Kat mortally wounded, the Protagonist and Neil decide to take her through Sator’s Turnstile and travel back to the Oslo Airport crash a week earlier. As they re-infiltrate the airport, the inverted Protagonist fights his non-inverted self before reaching the Turnstile and reverting to normal.
The Protagonist meets with Priya demanding answers about the full nature of what is happening. She explains that the artifacts are parts of a future-developed “algorithm” capable of inverting the entire world; future humans are using Sator to activate it, in a desperate attempt to counteract the effects of climate change despite knowing it would mean the end of existing human history and possibly destroy the world. The inventor of this technology, fearing its possible consequences, separated them into nine pieces and inverted them so they could remain hidden in the past. The Protagonist realises Priya wittingly knew he would fail to steal the artifact and that it would only end up in Sator’s hands and confronts her. She defends herself by explaining that she knew Sator would one day acquire the artifact and that she believes the future cannot be changed. She also tells him that Sator now has all nine pieces of the algorithm. Disillusioned, the Protagonist decides he will attempt to take the algorithm from Sator.
Kat reveals to the Protagonist and Neil that Sator is dying from inoperable pancreatic cancer; they deduce that he will trigger the algorithm through suicide via a dead man’s switch, believing the world should die with him. Kat believes Sator will choose to die on their day in Vietnam when they were last happy together. The Protagonist, Kat, and Neil decide that they will invert back in time to that day so Kat can delay Sator’s death whilst Tenet secures the assembled algorithm.
Tenet tracks the assembled algorithm to an abandoned Soviet closed city and commences a “temporal pincer movement”, wherein half of their troops move forward in time to the blast zone, while the other half moves backwards. As the operation is about to begin, Kat finds Sator on his yacht, who believes she is the younger version of herself, and inadvertently reveals he will commit suicide with a cyanide pill. Meanwhile, Tenet infiltrates the city and a fierce battle ensues. The Protagonist and a Tenet operative named Ives are prevented from reaching the algorithm by a locked gate, until an inverted masked corpse with the familiar red tag on its rucksack springs to life, saves the Protagonist from a gunshot, and unlocks the gate. Kat prematurely kills Sator just as the Protagonist and Ives capture the algorithm. Kat dives from the yacht’s deck, where she is witnessed by her past self.
The Protagonist, Neil, and Ives break up the algorithm’s components and part ways. The Protagonist notices a red tag on Neil’s rucksack; Neil reveals that a future version of the Protagonist recruited him to Tenet years earlier, and this mission is the end of a long friendship that the Protagonist has yet to experience. In London, Priya is about to order Kat’s assassination, but is killed by the Protagonist. Afterward, a narration of the Protagonist’s thoughts reveals that he now believes he is the mastermind behind Tenet.