'Tenet' movie trailer, plot, release date for Nolan's latest mind-bender

This thing makes 'Inception' look simple.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Back in 2010, Christopher Nolan challenged us with our understanding of dreams. Now, in 2020, the famed director will unmake reality again, this time with an espionage story that borders between the living and the dead called Tenet.

Out July 17, 2020, Nolan’s newest film Tenet seems to be another science-fiction/action hybrid — and another demonstration of Nolan’s taste of sharp-dressed subversions of conventional Hollywood genres.

And Nolan may be the only director in the world who can get away with being cagey about his movies. 2010’s Inception and 2014’s Interstellar, prior to their release, were cloaked in mystery, with marketing campaigns that resisted giving away too much detail. The same can be said forTenet, where not even the film’s full-length theatrical trailer makes any real sense.

“All I have for you is a word,” says one unnamed character, played by Kenneth Branaugh. “Tenet.” (Gee, thanks.)

But we’re doing our best, so here’s everything we know about Tenet.

Eric Francisco contributed reporting to this article.

When is the Tenet release datein theaters?

Tenet is due in theaters on July 17, 2020. The film will be yet another movie of Nolan’s films released in the third weekend of July. (The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, and Dunkirk were all released in late July.)

Where can I watch the trailer for Tenet?

You can watch the trailer for Tenet in the embed below.

What is the plot ofTenet about?

Honestly, it’s hard to describe! There isn’t even a plot synopsis on the film’s official website. Right now, it’s just a spinning logo evocative of a running clock.

Here’s our best guess based on the trailer: Tenet is about a deceased agent, played by John David Washington (BlackKklansman) who is recruited into the afterlife. (Whether “afterlife” is a proper noun for, say, an agency, or just the colloquial definition of life after death is unclear.)

In this new plane of existence, the characters — who are working to prevent “something worse” than nuclear holocaust — experience time and space differently. Based on the film’s visuals of cars flipping and boats sailing in reverse, we know the film will have a totally wild grasp of perception that aims to make us rethink our understanding of reality.

We do have some idea about the film’s genre, which has been described as “an action thriller taking place in the world of espionage.” That said, attempting to put Nolan’s work into a single category is tricky as his films often bend genre. Inception was an action-heist-science fiction hybrid, The Prestige was a period drama with sci-fi elements. Even 2017’s Dunkirk, a World War II movie, was a nonlinear thriller. Expect no less from Tenet, which looks to dress up the action movie genre into something we’ve never seen before.

John David Washington and Robert Pattinson (left, obscured) star in 2020's 'Tenet.'Warner Bros. Pictures
Michael Caine, a frequent collaborator of Christopher Nolan, returns as an unknown character in 2020's 'Tenet.'Warner Bros. Pictures
Elizabeth Debicki in 'Tenet.'Warner Bros. Pictures

Who stars in the cast of Tenet?

Tenet boasts an all-star cast full of Nolan-verse newcomers and veterans. It stars John David Washington of Ballers and BlackkKlansman. The film will also star soon-to-be-Batman Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki (Widows and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2). Regular Nolan collaborators Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh round out the cast.

Where will Tenet take place?

We have no clue as to what nation, world, or timeline Tenet takes place. We know Nolan filmed Tenet in seven countries, including the U.K., the United States, Denmark, Estonia, India, Norway, and Italy. It feels safe to assume that some of these locations will feature doubling (the act of one location being used to depict a different location in a film) and that a good deal of studio sets will be utilized. However, a great deal of on-location shooting has taken place in Mumbai, leading us to believe it will feature prominently in the film.

Tenet will release in theaters on July 17, 2020.

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