Have you seen the movie “Tenet”? If you have, what did you think of it? If not, what do you think the title might refer to?
In this blog post, we will explore the possible meanings of the movie and explain its ending. We will also provide a brief synopsis of the plot. After reading this post, you will be motivated to see the film yourself!
Among the new films of 2020, the film Tenet deserves special attention, in which the meaning of the picture remains a mystery until the end. The logical chain of this dizzying puzzle is built quite tricky. Unlike many films, the director does not give direct explanations. Therefore, each viewer perceives the meaning of the film Tenet in their way. Tenet is a sci-fi action film directed by acclaimed British director Christopher Nolan. The picture tells about the adventures of a special agent who must prevent the death of humanity.
What is the movie “Tenet” about
The agent, the protagonist in the film, participates in a particular operation in building the National Opera Theater of Ukraine. The hero’s goal is to take the mysterious item from the intermediary.
He copes with the task and hides the find. But later, the main character falls into the hands of the mafia, whose members torture him, hoping to find out where the mysterious object is. The protagonist manages to swallow a poison capsule during the torture, and the tormentors are left with nothing.
The main character does not die; he recovers and is hired by the secret Organization Tenet. Its participants want to prevent the coming catastrophe on a planetary scale.
The Organization gives the protagonist the task of finding a technology that changes the entropy of objects, forcing them to move back in time. The hero has a partner Neil, and the protagonist discovers that the technology is owned by the oligarch Andrei Sator, the mafia boss.
Partners become aware that Satoru needs plutonium. The oligarch needs the elements because this is the missing component to materialize the formula for inverting the world, developed by a female scientist from the future.
Sator has all the other components. The protagonist informs the mafia boss that he can get plutonium – he understands so that he can meet with Sator.
Explanation of the meaning of the movie “TENET.”
The film is an intellectual spectacle. To explain the movie “Tenet,” you will need references to the theories of inversion, entropy, and the paradoxes under investigation.
The film’s main idea is to convey to people the concept of the impossibility of predicting the events that will happen in a year, a month, a day, or even an hour. Circumstances can always intervene and destroy all plans.
The point of Tenet is that people have time now. This time should be valued. It’s only stable for now. Neither the past nor the future should bother a person. Confidence in the future is reasonable. However, no one can guarantee everything will go according to the planned scenario.
When viewing a picture, the viewer may not understand how the events of past frames are interconnected, but in the next minute, everything falls into place.
There are no pointless plot lines and twists in the film. Actions lend themselves to logic if the viewer observes them while temporarily turning in the opposite direction.
What is Inversion?
In the future, technology has been invented that can reverse the usual entropy that affects people, objects, and the environment – and thus change the flow of time, switching the chronological flow backward. Entropy is a complicated and complex term from physics that describes individual spontaneous events and their influence over some time. According to one of the most straightforward definitions, “Melting or dissolving ice, sugar or salt, making popcorn or boiling water for tea are all processes of increasing entropy in your kitchen.”
In the universe of Tenet, the protagonist (the protagonist, played by John David Washington) is shown entropy by the example of a bullet returning to a gun after being fired. If the entropy affecting people is reversed, they can only breathe in unique oxygen masks because the lungs of the “deployed” will no longer be able to absorb oxygen from ordinary air. If you try to contact your copy from the past, then “mutual self-destruction” will occur – as in the collision of particles with different charges. Entropy is generally difficult to explain in a nutshell, but you probably got the point.
What is an Algorithm?
In Tenet, the Algorithm is nine objects hidden in atomic bunkers (or nuclear shelters) all over the planet. Together they form the Algorithm – a device and the physical embodiment of a mathematical formula capable of reversing entropy throughout the Earth. Their unification and launch as part of a single whole will inevitably cause the death of the whole world. The end of the world will happen in the usual sense, but with unknown consequences for all things. In short, the Algorithm is needed to perform a global inversion – the whole world. The side effect is the death of humanity.
What is Sator’s plan?
A simple Russian oligarch and the main villain of Tenet – Andrei Sator – is in contact with an unknown agency (mysterious Organization) from the future. In the film, they are referred to as the Descendants. The idea of Sator and his assistants is to recreate a device known as the Algorithm – to destroy the familiar world. Sator wants to bring about the world’s end – and unleash entropy on the entire planet. Sator is dying of inoperable pancreatic cancer, and no money in the world can help him – so he is sure that once he dies, the rest have no reason to live. The logic of the oligarch and the arms dealer is as follows: what he cannot own must perish.
To organize the apocalypse, Sator will go back in time with his wife Kat – during their vacation in Vietnam. He plans to die quietly and calmly – perhaps at the happiest moment of his life. And when his heart stops, the Algorithm timer will go off, the charge inside the device will explode, and a global catastrophe of biblical proportions will occur.
What is Sator Square?
The Sator Square is a Latin palindrome consisting of five words that can be read backward, forwards, up, or down. It’s the perfect embodiment of a complex palindrome, so naturally, Nolan uses it as the basis for the plot of Tenet. Each of the five words makes up a key part of the plot: Billionaire Kenneth Branagh, the Russian villain Andrey Sator, who hid his time turnstile in a ROTAS-run freeport, and whose wife Kat hinted at an affair with a counterfeiter named AREPO, Sator tried to steal the Algorithm at the Opera. a TENET (Tenet) wanted to stop him. The original square is something of an ancient puzzle defying traditional translation, and Nolan seems to have used these clues to suggest that no matter which way you read The Tenet, it may have many meanings or none.
Who from the future does Sator work with?
According to rumors, everything is terrible in the future – the world is rapidly dying. Descendants blame the ancestors for what happened, so an unknown – presumably government – mysterious agency contacts Sator to destroy the past and present – and thus try to prevent catastrophic climate change in the future. Members of a mysterious organization from the end believe that by eliminating the past – with the help of the reverse of entropy – they will rewrite and save the future, their present. Roughly speaking, the Descendants want to take today’s world for themselves, replacing ours with their dead ones.
A typical grandfather paradox is brewing – a logical inconsistency when with equal success, a person who killed his direct ancestor may not be born at all but may appear as a result of the participation of another ancestor. In the first case, a person erases himself from the present-future, and in the second, he changes the past – and as a result, becomes the killer of a random person. But another logical paradox is brewing: if the killer of his grandfather erases himself from reality by this act, then, consequently, there will be no one to kill the ancestor – and this means that the descendant will nevertheless be born and try to kill the grandfather again. And this is already a temporal loop.
Why is Sator used to run the Algorithm?
Andrey Sator was born and raised in the Soviet Union, in a small scientific or military – in the “closed” – town of Stalask-12 (Stalk-12), in which experiments were carried out with nuclear particles in a plutonium nuclear reactor. Sator was at the right time in the right place: as a teenager, he eliminated the consequences of a nuclear disaster and dug up the first part of the Algorithm in the ruins of his native Siberia. In different parts of the USSR, a scientist (or scientist) from the future tried to hide the Algorithm by moving it to the past with the help of entropy reversal.
An agency from the future demands from Sator that he leave the Algorithm in the same Stalk-12 – the descendants will discover it after a century (or several centuries). To pay for the work of the oligarch, they use gold bars sent from the past – this is how Andrei becomes a billionaire.
Who saves the protagonist at the Kyiv Opera?
When terrorists attack the National Opera House of Ukraine in downtown Kyiv, the CIA discovers a mysterious object they cannot identify – part of the Algorithm. After the protagonist, a CIA agent, obtains a piece of the Algorithm, he is rescued by an unknown masked shooter. The meaning is that we are shown a red rope on the back of an unknown savior – the exact red string Neil (Robert Pattinson) has on his backpack. Christopher Nolan emphasizes this at the end of Tenet. It turns out that the protagonist in the shootout at the beginning (in the past) saves the Nile from the future.
How does the pincer maneuver work during time travel?
Pincers are a joint military maneuver, the most basic. Its essence is as follows: two mobile units pinch a large (and therefore less mobile) enemy detachment from two sides and do not allow it to break out of the battle and retreat to a safe position.
In “Tenet,” they use “temporal pincers”: when the protagonist tries to steal “Plutonium” from Sator’s armored car, part of the oligarch’s team fights in the present, and then another group – through the mysterious Turnstile device that causes an inversion in people and objects – deploys its entropy. The support team goes into the past and attacks the enemy “back to front,” using the received information about the enemy’s behavior in the “future.” Sator allows the two teams to share knowledge of their enemies to prevent plans to recreate the Algorithm from being thwarted. It turns out that one group knows the sequence of actions of the enemies precisely – and provides support to colleagues.
How did Kat survive after being shot?
Because Cat is moving backward in time when Sator shoots her in the stomach during “Temporal Pincers,” her wound cannot be healed in the ordinary world with the average time course. Therefore, the Protagonist and Neil invert themselves and go with her to Oslo – to the art depository at the airport. The fact is that there is another Turnstile that unfolds the chronological flow. There, they reverse Kat’s entropy, and she survives because the wound from the inverted bullet no longer affects her. But the scar remains.
Why was the building blown up twice at the end of Tenet? What does it mean?
In the closed city of Stalask-12, where the Algorithm is stored, two teams are trying to prevent the world’s end at once – again, the “temporal pincers” maneuver. The red team moves forward in time in the usual way and attempts to complete the mission five minutes before the detonation of the Algorithm charge. The blue team exists with altered entropy, moves backward in time, and the team is used mainly to obtain operational information. And also as support, since Sator has combat units for any occasion – with average entropy and inverted. Thus, the building is destroyed immediately in the past, future, and present. In addition, the battle itself simultaneously takes place in the past and the future, intertwined into a paradoxical gift.
What happened to Neil at the end of Tenet, and what was shown to us?
The gate is blocked in the room with the Algorithm, so the Protagonist and Eve cannot get inside. On the other side lies the corpse of a masked soldier with a red rope on his backpack. This is the Nile. When the inverted Volkov – Sator’s mercenary – tries to shoot the protagonist, the masked man suddenly comes to life, gets shot in the head, and saves the protagonist. The gate unlocks, allowing the protagonist to prevent the world’s end – Neil had previously hacked it in the inversion. Neil finally and irrevocably dies.
Does the ending mean that the time can be changed?
On the face of it, the whole idea of TENET is that time can be changed, given that all the key events seem to be going back in time to stop the end of the world. And it appears that the idea is based on preventing the threat of an apocalypse that should happen in the future. The protagonist’s meeting with the scientist, played by Clemence Poesy, is a turning point for him, in which he sets the goal: to stop the future war and the apocalypse. Still, there is no point in thinking about it so literally because details like this could be red herrings sent by Tenet to convince the protagonist to take on the job without revealing the truth to him. After all, his ignorance is sometimes his most valuable asset.
Neil’s fate is direr as the case progresses. Ultimately, he decides to die because he knows this has already happened, and the Protagonist and Ives must prevent the burial of the Algorithm. Even after seeing his death, Neal decides that he must do it simply because “what happened, happened.” And the way protagonist told Neil at the beginning that the fact that they were still alive to be able to start their mission meant that it had already been successful. By this logic, which is reinforced throughout the film, time cannot be changed. Although the film’s premise shows how the future tried to destroy the past, it presents a chicken-and-egg paradox that is neither debunked nor confirmed. But that seems to be the point. Whatever the logic Neil is dead, unfortunately.
What does the ending of the Tenet mean?
There are a couple of essential conclusions in the final Argument. Nolan warns of an impending environmental disaster on the most superficial and apparent level. If we don’t change our way of life, the future will kill us all. This is not seen as a sermon but is evident in the film’s message.
And on top of that, most importantly, Tenet is the idea of free will. At some point, the protagonist asks the scientist Clemence Poesy (not from the future, although this is possible) if free will exists. She explains that free will is the only catalyst for movement, whether something is inverted or not. He must choose whether to fire the inverted pistol or not; otherwise, he will remain unarmed no matter which way the bullet is moving. But that’s not the whole story, as Neal’s recurring mantra of “what happened, happened” poses a fundamental challenge to the idea. When he sacrifices himself, he does so knowing that it has already happened, and his free will suggests that he can leave without sacrificing himself. But when the protagonist asks him to change his mind, he states,
There is an assumption that free will does not exist, but in fact, the point of Nolan is not to decide whether there is one or not but to challenge his audience to explore this idea and decide for themselves. Its meaning is simultaneously a five-sided palindrome, an old-fashioned paradox, and an unsolvable ancient puzzle. The future will always determine how the past and present happen, and what happened does not mean that it cannot be at least in the form of valuable experience. Given the idea of people’s constant anxiety about death, which usually underlies Nolan’s works such as Inception and Interstellar, in particular, Nolan reframes the concept of time not as a continuous to desperately cling to for fear of losing, but as a mechanism itself, with the help of who can rule the world.