Tenet Trailer Breakdown: If I Could Turn Back Time - /FILM

Tenet Trailer Breakdown: If I Could Turn Back Time - /FILM
The newTenet trailer is here (after debuting in*checks notes*Fornite), and to put it bluntly, it rules. Action-packed, full of stunning visuals, and, since its a Christopher Nolan movie, mysterious as hell. While this trailer reveals the most about the film so far for instance, itsnot about time travel, even though it sure looked like it was its still shrouded in secrecy. In an attempt to figure out what the heck is going on here, Ive compiled aTenet trailer breakdown, just for you. So put on your cool suit and oxygen mask, and get ready to communicate with the future.

And now, here are the opening moments.

One of the many things I dig about this trailer: it finds a creative way to use the usually annoying quick teaser in front of the trailer trend that movie trailers have adopted. Rather than showcase footage of the trailer to come,Tenet uses some other moments to set the mood. All I have for you is a word, says a character played byMartin Donovan. Itll open the right doors, and some of the wrong ones, too. Hes speaking to the lead character, played byJohn David Washington.

Washington proceeds to get into a fight with several goons in either a hotel or restaurant kitchen. He also has a moment where he looks on longingly asElizabeth Debicki walks by (and why can blame him?) before she climbs into a car and drives off. Is there a romance blossoming between these characters? Is Nolan crafting a love story thatdoesnt have a dead wife in it for once? In the world ofTenet, anything is possible.

To do what I do, we hear Washington say, I need some idea of the threat we face. This narration takes place over a moment from the previous trailer: Washington and Robert Pattinson about to fallup a building. Sounds weird, but thats what happens they start at the bottom and then propel upward, and its clear theyre not climbing, or being pulled. Instead, it looks like the footage is running in reverse. Another hint at the films time-bending storyline.

As for that threat Washington is talking about, we hear a character played byClmence Posy saying: As I understand it, were trying to prevent World War III. This gives way to Washington in what appears to be some sort of lab (Posy is even wearing a lab coat), approaching a tray of seemingly random items lenses, bolts, gears. And here comes the big reveal; the confirmation that all is not normal. Im not seeing armageddon here, Washington says. No, something worse, replies Posy. Washington has a hand hovering over the items, and one of them a gear wheel flies up into his hand, as if his hand is magnetic.

Cut to: Michael Caine! All Christopher Nolan movies are required by law to have Michael Caine in them, and here he is. I gather you have an interest in a certain Russian national, Caine says,

That Russian national is the films villain, played byKenneth Branagh. Whats his deal? According to Washington, Branagh can communicate with the future.

And just in case you were still thinking this is a time travel movie, we cut to Washington and Pattinson having a convo aboutBranagh and his ability to communicate with the future. Time travel? Pattinson asks. No, Washington replies. Inversion. In other words, the characters arent traveling back in time in a traditional sci-fi way. Instead, theyre literally moving backward, as if someone is hitting a rewind button. Sound weird? It is weird. Thats the point. How is thatnot time travel? you might be asking. Welltechnically speaking, itkind of is. But Nolan obviously wants to avoid all the trappings and unanswerable questions that come with time travel movies, so hes attempting something different.

To illustrate inversion, we see Washington firing a gun at a giant rock. This giant rock is the one thing thats really throwing me in this trailer why is the target a rock wall? Why not just a regular shooting range target? Is this rock blessed with special powers? Is it a chunk of Stonehenge, a laHalloween III: Season of the Witch? Or is it just a rock? Nolan, you bastard, answer me.

In any case, as Washington aims his gun, a bullet flies backward,into the chamber. Youre not shooting it, saysClmence Posys character. Yourecatching it.

This gives way to what Im 100% sure is a direct reference toThe Matrix, with Washington saying, Whoa. Anytime youre making a big sci-fi epic that plays around with the rules of space, time, and physics, its bound to be compared toThe Matrix. Im sure Nolan realizes that, and deliberately threw this in there as a big wink to the audience.

There are several shots of characters wearing oxygen masks in this trailer. Washington wears one at one point, and here, Branagh is donning a mask as well. What could that be about? Just a guess: if people not just objects like bullets or gear wheels are alsoinverting backward, it might affect their bodies as well, and they might need help breathing. Again, this is just a guess. But I also think Nolan is using the masks similar to the way he used the dream machine inInception its a part of a device the characters use to move backward in time.

What follows is a quick series of action beats highlighting all the crazy, dangerous stuff going on here. To underscore how dangerous it all is, we then go to Branagh asking Washington how he would like to die. Washingtons reply: Old. Then you chose the wrong profession, says Branagh.

Heres the money shot, which also underscores the danger: a car accident happening in reverse. I know you could argue that this isnt that mind-blowing Nolan is merely moving the film in reverse. And yet, this simple editing trick looks fantastic, akin to the tractor-trailer flip inThe Dark Knight.

The action continues, and also includes a moment where Elizabeth Debicki is being held hostage in a car by Branagh. Ireally hope Nolan isnt going to simply have Debicki in place to be a damsel in distress, as that would be highly disappointing.

Another big action set piece has characters running through a theater during an orchestra performance. The audience members are asleep (ordead?) while those running are again wearing masks, which further underscores the use of masks as protection during the inversion. Side-note: its surprising that they included this shot in the trailer a shot of people who appear dead and/or incapacitated in a theater. Its bound to make people think of the circumstances surroundingTenets release: an outbreak that threatens the lives and safety of theatergoers. Or maybe Im reading too much into this. Maybe that orchestra was just giving areally boring performance, and everyone fell asleep.

Another mask! After a series of more action shots, Washington asks: Reversing the flow of timedoesnt us being here now mean it never happened? I dunno,Tenet. Does it? You tell me!

The trailer concludes with yet another big money-shot moment: a plane crashing into a building (on the ground). And itreally looks like Nolan crashed an actual plane into an actual building, because hes the type of director who can get away with that sort of thing. But the real fun of this moment isnt the plane crash its the light, comedic banter between Washington and Pattinson. This trailer showcases that the two have great, playful chemistry together while also proving Nolan can go funny. Hes a director who often gets accused of being cold and clinical, but Nolan can do comedy when he wants to and hes on record as lovingMacGruber so I like that hes allowing Washington and Pattinson to have a little fun. You want to crash a plane? Washington asks. Not from the air, Pattinson replies. Dont be so dramatic. Well, how big a plane? asks Washington. That partis a little dramatic, replies Pattinson. Cut to huge plane explosion.

And heres the stinger: rather than provide a release date, the trailer simply ends with Coming to Theaters. As of now, Warner Bros. still plans on releasing the film on July 17. Before the trailer dropped yesterday, the official Tenet Twitter account removed any mention of that date, leading some to believe the release was going to be officially pushed. However, since the trailer dropped, the July 17 date is back on the Twitter page. So whats going on here? Simple: Warner Bros. and Nolan stillwant to release the film in July, but by not putting the date in the trailer, they dont have to worry about any confusion should the film get pushed to, say, August. Or November. Or 2021. All you need to know is thatTenet is definitely coming to theaters. Someday.
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