The Noovie 9: Things to Know About 'Tenet'

Christopher Nolan's sci-fi/spy thriller finally arrives in theaters. It's a lot of spectacle on the big screen, we're here to help decode what you'll see.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

John David Washington behind a glass with a bullet hole.

© Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection


While "Tenet" does play with the concept of time travel, the official name given in the film is the idea of inversion - time working backwards. It's a novel, and new idea, that should allow moviegoers who think they've seen it all to be blown away with lots of visual effects sequences they haven't.

John David Washington

It's nice to see Nolan creating a big budget sci-fi spectacle with an African-American leading man, and John David Washington is definitely a star on the rise, from Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" to HBO's "Ballers." It would have also been nice to see him get an actual name instead of just The Protagonist, but to have him lead the charge here is awesome.

Sound Design

One of the reasons you may want to see this more than once is because Christopher Nolan notoriously keeps all the sound from the actual location shoot, which can be problematic when it's a stunt scene with lots of stuff happening. Regardless, as annoying as it may be to have to perk up your's also unique? Well, at the least, it's another chance to experience it over to decipher what was said.

See It in IMAX 70MM

If you have the chance and are willing to venture into a theater right now, IMAX 70MM is the way to view, and Nolan is one of the few filmmakers to actually shoot in the format. Double check before you go, as only a select number of locations screen in both IMAX and 70MM.

Multiple Viewings Required

At the press screenings, critics were encouraged to watch "Tenet" multiple times before writing their reviews. That definitely is a good reminder, given what critics are saying - applauding the bold vision, but wondering what exactly was happening in the story. Our guess is that tons of viewers will see this multiple times. Their verdict after the 7th viewing? Time will tell.

Christopher Nolan's Fascination with Time

Fooling around with time isn't something new for Nolan - he's revisited and warped it again and again in early films like "Memento" and "Insomnia" up through recent films like "Interstellar." Keep that in mind as you ponder this new one. Maybe (most likely) there's a thematic connection in the film's ultimate message.

Be. Safe. Always.

Like the screenshot from the film showing Washington in a mask, be sure to wear yours if you do see "Tenet" in a theater. And keep it on during the movie. Plus, remember the social distancing. We can keep going to movies...but only if we're safe.

Bond Beginnings

Nolan decided to make "Tenet" after not going with the option to make a Bond movie himself. That's in part why a lot of this new film resembles Bond with a twist of Nolan. That's a good thing. Also, the actual Bond in "No Time to Die" will be in theaters in two months. Hooray!

The Batman Connection

There's also a bit of an intense and atmospheric Batman vibe here, and that's because obviously Nolan made a few iconic Batman movies himself, but also because the new Batman actor is a co-star in "Tenet." Ready for "The Batman"? Then "Tenet's" sort of an additional preview, with Robert Pattinson stretching out his action legs in fine fashion.

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Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango,, MediaTrip, and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

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