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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

Movie Review: Tenet

By Yuya Kudo

(Japanese translation coming soon.)


Tenet is a science fiction/action/thriller movie released in 2020 and directed by Christopher Nolan. He also directed The Dark Night, Inception, and Interstellar. The film stars Robert Pattison and John David Washington as two agents trained to stop WW Ⅲ. It was shot in 70mm IMAX and filmed in Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Norway among others. The theme song of the movie is “The Plan” by Travis Scott, an American rapper.

What is Tenet?

What does the word “Tenet” mean? The dictionary says that it means “one of the principles on which a belief or theory is based.” You can read the word both forward and backward, which makes it what is called a palindrome. Tenet is the name of the organization that the protagonist, who is one of the agents acted by John David, created to put the world’s timeline back on track.


The film begins with a terrorist attack at an opera house in Ukraine. A man who was a CIA spy disguised himself as a special army member and plunged into the attack, but he was captured by the Russians. Soon after, it was found that this terror attack itself was a test for him. Then, he got charged with a mission to prevent the start of WW Ⅲ. The way to use the word “Tenet” could have a big impact on the future. The protagonist threw himself into the battle.

The movie uses a lot of physical phenomena that might confuse you, so let’s take a look at some. For instance, the most important thing is that time can go backwards. In the movie, you can enter the world if you use something like a revolving door. Unlike time travel, a relation between cause and effect is 180 degrees different. In other words, if people of the future spoke to you, what they said would sound backwards.


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