Tenet Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

A Ceraush special agent (John David Washington) tries to save another special agent during a distracting terrorist attack at the Kyiv opera house. The special agent failed the task, he was captured by vile United States, tortured for a long time, demanding to give out military secrets, but the Special Agent (we will call him that, since he still doesn’t have a name) didn’t give out the secret, but swallowed the death pill given to him by the CIA, but it turned out, that the pill was completely non-lethal, but it was just a test, and not for working for the CIA, but for working for the Tenet organization, whose goal is to prevent the Third World War. Which in fact is not the Third World War at all, but simply our distant descendants, having exhausted all the resources of Mother Earth, decided to bang their own grandparents to find out if the time paradox as old as the world will work. Because if it works, then everyone will die – both in the past and in the future. But if it does not work, then what will the descendants get? And they will go back in time, and they will go from the depleted Earth back to the dinosaurs.

Well, zakoldobilo from the description of the plot? But Bublik and I were bewitched …


Nolan is said to have been nurturing the idea for this film for twenty years. The fact that he gave birth to him at all inspires respect, but why he gave birth to him is another question. But, by the way, opinions about the new creation are quite polar, so that some viewers say that this is an incredibly smart and difficult to understand fiction, which they, brainy guys, perfectly understood, realized and imbued, while other viewers say that this is a very long and a terribly drawn-out tediousness in which a few action scenes are interspersed with all sorts of nonsense about inverts (it used to be called “continuous contramotion”) and time travel back and forth, which is really impossible to figure out.

The first category, which claims that they understood and imbued everything, is lying! There is no doubt about this. When watching this movie for the first time, even if you maintain the full clarity of an unclouded mind, no one will understand SHIT! Another thing is that here you can surrender to the will of Uncle Nolan and simply assume in advance that there is at least some sense in all these inversions and counter-emotions – and take it all on faith. I believe, because NOLAN! Since he says inversion, it means that there is an inversion. And what does everything that we just looked at mean – yes, Nolan knows him, but he must definitely know this, really!

The development option for the first category is to carefully read the articles of those who watched the film three or four times, read the articles of others who were just as attentive and more or less clearly tried to explain – no, not what is happening, but what Nolan meant in general. Then it remains only to solidify the magic spell “Wheeler-Feynman absorption theory”, find out what a palindrome is (it’s just simple), and read on Wikipedia what the early Christian palindrome “SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS” (TENET is the original name paintings, and the United Statesn-language version of “Argument” is, oddly enough, quite successful, because it is clearly palindromic).

In general, for an advanced conversation about what you saw in Argument, I highly recommend learning a few palindromes. In Latin, you still won’t remember (and I didn’t remember), but “And the rose fell on Azor’s paw” is elementary to remember, well, my favorite palindrome is “Lyosha found a bug on the shelf.”

But back to the movie. Why Nolan, to present his vision of the reverse flow of time, time loops and other interesting theories, turned to a long-rotten and pro-naphthalene Bond movie – I, frankly, do not understand point-blank. Bond, “Mission: Impossible 125” – the ears of this madhouse from “Tenet” are sticking out from all sides. Moreover, if both Bondiana and the impossible mission, at least recently, have somehow moved away from the muddy United Statesn oligarchs who have long been fed up with the series “I’ll kill you, suk, beat you,” then here this amazing wretchedness blooms in all its glory, and I get the feeling that Nolan just mocks the audience.

Yes, yes, he is mocking, and this is clearly visible, because in this film there are actually almost no characters as such, at least some interesting characters! Who is a Special Agent? Yes dick knows. Former Tsareushnik. Why is he now tearing the anus for this “Argument”? Yes, because a muddy aunt, who looks like a sleepy fish (I still don’t understand, why the hell does someone shoot this terrible Clemence Poesy), told him that the Third World War and all such baggage! And that there are ordinary bullets, but there are inverted ones, and he saw how an inverted bullet itself jumps into a pistol!

John David Washington, Denzel Washington’s son, did a really good job in Black Klansman, and I wanted to see something else with him. But here, alas, this is clearly not his picture: he is not a character here, but a pure function. A couple of times he jokes funny, a couple of times he demonstrates good physical shape (by the way, before his acting he played in a cool American football team), then he simply reads out the text of the script. But it’s not his fault. This is such a scenario. Nolan, who wrote the script, apparently was so interested in all these temporary back and forth, back and forth, that the characters in the picture did not interest him at all – this is clearly visible.

United States oligarch Andrei Sator (we remember the SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS palindrome) is not even hugging and crying. For him, Nolan wanted to shove SATOR, and AREPO somewhere (in the film, a certain Spanish artist, the creator of fakes for masters, bears the name Arepo) and even ROTAS. Because it’s really horror-horror! Kenneth Branagh very diligently did an absolutely moronic United States accent, while speaking in decent, albeit extremely primitive English, and only about the motivation of his character and about how he treats his wife – by the way, Sir Frederick Burton’s eldest niece, who discovered Andrey’s husband has a path to the heights of the bottom of the London aristocracy – this Nolan is definitely mocking the audience, there is no doubt about it!

Things are even worse for the eldest niece, Sator’s wife Katherine, portrayed courageously by Elizabeth Debicki. If Sator is like this Ernst Stavro Blofeld, only without a cat, then Katherine is just I don’t even know who to compare it to. Extremely cardboard character, extremely idiotic dialogue, amazingly stupid episodes. It was even a pity for Elizabeth, she is still a good actress. Olga Kurylenko would have been quite in place here, but, alas, according to the script, Catherine was still from an aristocratic British society, so Nolan chose a Polish woman with Irish-Australian roots, born in France, for this role. And what – to walk so to walk!

Andrey Sator’s closest assistant was played by a good United Statesn actor Yuri Kolokolnikov, who, by the way, unlike many other United Statesn actors, really made a notable career in Hollywood (otherwise I remember Mashkov, who played a plumber in the miserable action movie “15 Minutes of Fame”, so I shudder) . And here is just the topic – Yuri’s interview for Esquire magazine, which he gave just after the release of “Argument”.

The only really interesting and charismatic character in this film is Neil, played by Robert Pattinson. There, according to the plot, it is not very clear who this Neil is, although it quickly turns out that Neil is very, very difficult, and Pattinson played him just fine: I didn’t watch any girls’ Twilight, of course, but I saw three film, and in each he was very good. Here, Pattinson generally did just once the protagonist of the film, played by John David Washington. Well, it happened.

The only one who still attracted attention (I don’t mention the brilliant Michael Caine just because he actually has a cameo here) is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played the fighting Eaves. But he has a few episodes here, alas.

What do we have here, you ask, with all sorts of races, chases, special effects, regular effects and bam-boob? Pretty good at first. To be honest, it was very uncomfortable for me to watch the scene with the opera in Kyiv, because to a certain extent the story with Nord-Ost was imitated there, and this, excuse me, was a real terrible story with the death of many people. And the presence of this episode in a fantastic action movie slightly, you know, jarred me.

The Mumbai house break-in was as funny as it was unreliable, the airport warehouse robbery was done spectacularly, although also extremely unreliable (Nolan does not bother with authenticity at all, he doesn’t need it), the theft of either plutonium or meldonium , or hell knows what at first looked more or less funny, but then this inversion rushed there, when the cars ride backwards, and this Andryusha, who got it, is still trying to shoot his spouse, who is no less tired, whom the Special Agent will continuously save, instead of saving already this damn world, – well, here somehow the appetizer stole a degree, that is, it already looked noticeably less impressive.

But the long and very muddy scene of saving this damn world with all these winds, counter-winds, inverts, temporal pincers, reverse and direct explosions – to be honest, it was so tired that I caught myself thinking several times that it was time to do it all squander, especially since, as in other scenes of the picture, where the winders (these are ordinary people) and the counter-winders (inverts) moved at different times, the winders ran backwards extremely unnaturally, and this was clearly visible. In addition, the directors often got confused, and they ran either windings like counter-windings, then counter-windings like windings, but this was of little concern to anyone, apparently.

About the babam-bubuh. This is where it gets really tedious. I read complaints from viewers who saw the movie in theaters that the obsessive music and thumping bass sounded a little too much. Yes, and not in the cinema, it’s all too intrusive, very loud and very monotonous, I paid attention to this.

What is the result? I’m really very disappointed. To be honest, having reached the theft of either plutonium or meldonium, when there was still an hour left to the end, I wanted to stop watching this dregs, but since the review anyway had to be written anyway – the film is a landmark – I forced myself to watch it to the end, I’m not a film critic who writes a review after watching the trailer. And in vain, because all this space-time dregs is just the last hour of the film.

However! Does the movie have fans? There is! They argue all over the world in social networks and forums, explaining to each other what the artist wanted to say with this picture, why did he decide to say this at all, and why did Volodya shave off his mustache? How they argue! So Nolan filmed it for a reason? Definitely not in vain!


PS Once again I remind you of the “Wheeler-Feynman absorption theory”, “reverse entropy” and “Lyosha found a bug on the shelf”. Use these phrases in a discussion of this film – it will definitely give you extra points. It is even possible that in the eyes of a friend you will receive the status of “The guy who understood Nolan’s Tenet.” And it’s worth it!

Argument / Tenet movie review

Director: Christopher Nolan Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine, Himesh Patel, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Dimple Kapadia, Clemence Poesy

Budget: $205M, Worldwide gross: $358M
Fantasy Action, UK-US, 2020, 150 min.

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