Christopher Nolan's next mind-bending action-thriller film will be Tenet, and as is typical, we know virtually nothing about it. Viewers were left more confused than enlightened after the first Tenet teaser trailer was released - and rightly so. The footage teased your typical Nolan-brand heist-thriller experience, with the typical major Nolan narrative twist thrown in the mix. In Tenet, Nolan seems to be playing with the concept of time, as we saw John David Washington's lead character walking through a shootout that seems to then play out in reverse. However, according to Tenet star Robert Pattinson, Tenet won't be using time travel as its device.
Robert Pattinson was doing an interview with GQ about the next phase of his career (starring in both Tenet and The Batman reboot) - all of which is currently on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to describing Tenet, Pattinson is under the heaviest kind of gag order, but there's one thing he was allowed to make clear: this is not a time travel movie.
"I'm so curious. I mean, I literally haven't seen a frame of this movie," Pattinson said. When the interviewer described his character as a time traveler, Pattinson had the following correction to offer: "He's not a time traveler. There's actually no time traveling. [laughs] That's, like, the one thing I'm approved to say."
Now this is a somewhat confusing contradiction to what early synopses for Tenet described. From IMDb:
"An action epic revolving around international espionage, time travel, and evolution. Possibly about a man trying to prevent World War 3 through time travel and rebirth."
Other descriptions of the film have described what the strange phenomenon as "time manipulation." So really, the concept has been kept as vague as just about anything else in this Nolan film, but really semantics shouldn't really matter that much. After all, there are any number of aspects in Inception's handling of dreams and the unconscious mind that begin to unravel when put under the microscope. The same goes for the memory aspects of Nolan's breakout film, Memento. You just kind of have to take the sci-fi concepts that Chris (and his brother Jonathan) Nolan presents in his films and go with them.
As for Tenet: the ideas of time manipulation and rebirth sound like the most interesting. If Washington's character somehow gets a last-chance rewind on the final moments of his life, it would make for some truly interesting sci-fi / philosophical ideas, as well as some pretty uniquely awesome action sequences.
Right now, Chris Nolan is fighting to keep Tenet's July 17th release date. Robert Pattinson is on hold from resuming production on The Batman right now.