We all know what it’s like... You pop a film on at home. You’ve been looking forward to it and, for a while, it has your undivided attention.
But then, your phone pings, the dog needs letting out, you pause the action to fetch some Hob Nobs…
In short, all too often, home viewing is a fractured experience. And that’s no way to watch a Nolan film.
From the backwards chronology of Memento to Dunkirk’s three perspectives that continually ratchet up the tension, the director/writer loves to play with time in the stories he tells.
TENET is no different.
In fact, it centres on a secretive government agency tasked with preventing World War III by using technology that enables its agents to selectively invert the flow of time.
And so, with guns ‘catching bullets’ rather than firing them, and fist-fights flowing forwards and backwards at the same time (!) this is no ‘time’ to be checking Instagram.
Banish distractions and give yourself over to Nolan’s extraordinary storytelling.
Famously, Christopher Nolan favours shooting on film rather than digitally. He also strives to use practical effects, even when CGI might be a whole lot easier to create and control.
The hospital explosion that erupts behind Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight?
It was real – the Brach’s Candy admin building in Chicago in case you’re wondering.
Matthew McConaughey’s Coop tearing his pickup truck through endless cornfields in Interstellar?
Real again – Nolan’s team grew an entire field of corn solely for that sequence alone.
The white-knuckle Dunkirk aerial battles with Tom Hardy coasting mid-air on waves of audience tension?
All shot for real and with IMAX cameras (a cinematic first, by the way) for the best possible visual quality and immersion.
Oh, and that trippy sequence in Inception where Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page stare in amazement as a freight train ploughs through LA streets?
It may have been a heavy truck dressed up as a freight train, but the sequence was really filmed and the ‘car’nage was real.
So what can you expect from TENET in the way of must-see, big-screen spectacle?
Take that VERY real Boeing-747-crashing-taxiing-headlong-into-a-building sequence glimpsed in the second trailer as an example.
As Robert Pattinson's suave operative tries to reassure John David Washington's protagonist with tongue firmly in cheek: 'that part is a little dramatic' - we couldn't agree more.
In another tantalising teaser, Nolan has revealed that his team built “one of the largest-scale outdoor builds of all time” for TENET: an abandoned city of destroyed buildings and rubble, populated by hundreds of extras in military camo.
Just imagine the fun Nolan and his stellar cast have had with that playground. Now, imagine the gasps around you as you see it on a mahoosive ODEON IMAX screen, at a 4K ODEON iSense cinema, Dolby™ cinema, or (frankly) on any one of our wonderful cinemas along with your favourite people.
Christopher Nolan doesn’t just love breaking boundaries with the technical aspects of filmmaking, he also nurtures phenomenal commitment from his cast.
We love Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker but Heath Ledger’s performance as the Clown Prince of Crime earned him an Academy Award (and a permanent place in our nightmares) 11 years earlier. Tom Hardy’s indelible performance as the forger Eames in Inception made him a break-out star. And, once seen, who can forget Robin Williams’ uncharacteristically chilling turn as Walter Finch in 2002’s Insomnia?
TENET sees a predictably top-flight cast bringing its A-game to the big screen. Nolan regular and living legend, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh – in full, soft-spoken villain mode – and John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) as the film’s mysterious ‘Protagonist’, to name just three.
But at large, this is an expansive cast with luminous performances at every turn. Robert Pattinson is set to charm audiences with a delightfully Bond-esque turn as another operative in this shadowy world of espionage. The enigmatic Elizabeth Debicki is also poised to figure highly in this high-concept, neo-noir narrative, but at this point where our knowledge of 'hero' and 'villain' is unclear, who knows what part she will play as the fate of the world is at threat.
Add the likes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clemence Poesy, and Himesh Patel to the mix, and you're looking at a definitive all-star cast.
To put it another way, TENET's labrynthine plot is bound to send us into another hi-tech Nolan universe, full of intriguing characters and nuanced performances that deserve to be seen on the grandest canvas possible.
Having read this far, it won’t surprise you in the least to know that Christopher Nolan lavishes as much thought and attention on his movies’ sound design and soundtracks as he does on story, visuals and performance. Here’s just one example of his commitment to crafting immersive soundscapes to match the action on-screen.
With TENET, Nolan has an exciting new composer-collaborator, following his long and successful partnership with master of modern scores, Hans Zimmer.
You may not have heard of Ludwig Göransson before but if you’ve watched The Mandalorian, Creed, or Black Panther, you’ll have heard (and loved) his Oscar-winning work. Did you like Childish Gambino’s 'This is America'? Görannson co-wrote and co-produced it with Donald Glover.
What we’ve heard of Göransson’s TENET score has us hooked already, and we can't wait to hear how its themes and structure reflect TENET’s twisty, time-inversion plot.
There’s only one way to ensure you get the full surround-sound experience Nolan and Göransson have planned - at the cinema.
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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 latest film from Christopher Nolan, starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki.