Christopher Nolan's new movie Tenet is a typically secretive affair, with rumors alleging that the plot trades in time travel, World War III scares and lots more besides.
The Dark Knight and Inception helmer is renowned for keeping his cards close to his chest. At the same time, Nolan hopes that Tenet will be the crowd-pleasing blockbuster that initiates a return to cinema-going normality in the wake of lockdown.
As usual with Nolan, the movie has been shot with IMAX cameras for added immersive impact – but what exactly are we being immersed in? All we know is that BlacKkKlansman star John David Washington plays a globe-trotting operative on some kind of do-or-die mission.
The all-star supporting cast includes Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Caine. The last of those actors, a favorite of Nolan's, has already confessed to being baffled by the plot. And now Pattinson has echoed those sentiments.
Pattinson tells GQ Magazine: "Even if I had seen it, I genuinely don’t know if I’d be able to…I was just thinking, I just called up my assistant 20 minutes ago: ‘What the f**k do I say [about it]? I have no idea."
Frankly, that only makes us more intrigued. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Tenet released a single trailer that wasn't exactly forthcoming with information. The continued absence of detail during the global lockdown period has only prolonged and enhanced the film's sense of mystery, which may well play into Nolan's hands as far as audience interest is concerned.
However, Pattinson is able to reveal one thing about his character: "He’s not a time traveler. There’s actually no time traveling. That’s, like, the one thing I’m approved to say."
That's the sound of us scratching our heads. Maybe what Pattinson means is that the film's depiction of time travel isn't the conventional sort? Perhaps he and Washington's characters are gifted with the ability to see past, present and future occurring simultaneously, with the ability to seamlessly move between those different planes of reality?
That might tie in with the film's trailer, in which the two men are witness to a scene that "hasn't happened yet". Immediately after that, a door opens admitting a man who appears to be moving backwards, a motif that's also seen during a freeway chase sequence and waves lapping against a boat.
A new licensed book has been released titled 'The Secrets of Tenet: Inside Christopher Nolan’s Quantum Cold War'. The use of the word 'quantum' may well indicate a journey beyond standard human perception into a realm where standard notions of time cease to exist. (Just think of the Quantum Realm in the recent Ant-Man and Avengers movies.)
Of course, it falls to Nolan himself to deliver the final word. "When you see the film, you’ll understand," he tells GQ. "Rob’s read on the script was extremely acute. But he also understood the ambiguities of the film and the possibilities that spin off in the mind around the story. And so both things are true.
Nolan adds: "Yes, he’s f*****g with you, because he had a complete grasp of the script. But a complete grasp of the script, in the case of Tenet, is one that understands and acknowledges the need for this film to live on in the audience’s mind, and suggest possibilities in the audience’s mind. And he was very much a partner in crime with that."
And while we have questions about Tenet's storyline, there's another, even more fundamental one that we're looking to have answered. Will it be released in summer 2020?
At the moment, Tenet is scheduled for release on 17th July, one of the few movies that hasn't blinked in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The release is clearly conditional on the global situation, so stay tuned to the blog for more details.
In the meantime, tweet us your Tenet story theories @RegalMovies.