Tenet is a 2020 science fiction action film written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who produced it with Emma Thomas. A co-production between the United Kingdom and United States, it stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. The film follows a secret agent who learns to manipulate the flow of time to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to annihilate the present world.
Nolan took more than five years to write the screenplay after deliberating about Tenet’s central ideas for over a decade. Pre-production began in late 2018, casting took place in March 2019, and principal photography lasted six months, from May to November, in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot on 65 mm film and IMAX. Scenes of time manipulation were filmed both backwards and forwards. Over one hundred vessels and thousands of extras were used.
A CIA agent, the “Protagonist”, participates in an extraction operation at a Kyiv opera house. A masked soldier wearing a red trinket saves his life by “un-firing” a bullet through a gunman. After seizing an artifact, the Protagonist is captured by mercenaries. He is tortured before consuming what he believes to be a suicide pill. He awakens to learn the suicide pill was a test of loyalty; his team has been killed and the artifact lost.
The Protagonist is recruited by an organization called Tenet. A scientist briefs him on bullets with “inverted” entropy, meaning they move backward through time. She believes they are manufactured in the future, and other inverted objects seem to be remnants of a war in the future. The Protagonist meets Neil through a CIA contact, and they trace the inverted bullets to arms dealer Priya Singh in Mumbai. They learn that Priya is a member of Tenet, and her cartridges were purchased and inverted by Russian oligarch Andrei Sator.
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