Some trailers are teasers. This one is a taunter. The final beat of any great preview is the debut date, revealing just how long audiences will have to wait to see the rest of what they just witnessed. In this case, we still have no certainty when Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will hit theaters.
The trailer itself only said the film would be “coming to theaters.” It no longer specifies when.
The opening was—and technically still is—set for July 17, but the continued lockdown and chaotic plans to reopen businesses in the United States has made that seem increasingly dubious. Now, the question of when we will see Tenet has become another of its mysteries.
The trailer debuted at 8 p.m. Eastern within the game Fortnite, which created a simulated version of the kind of crowd cinema owners are hoping to draw back to their theaters.
What the trailer does reveal is a little bit more of the time-bending storyline, which isn’t about time travel per se, but more about an instant replay, with incidents like gunshots and car wrecks happening and then un-happening.
John David Washington is a new member of a covert organization that is trying to stop a vast global catastrophe while wielding do-overs as one of its weapons. Another agent, played by Robert Pattinson, appears to be helping him create smaller but still “dramatic” events, like staging a jetliner collision, to accomplish their goals.
As many have noticed, the title Tenet is a palindrome, and there seems to be an aspect to the narrative that involves future events rippling backward in the chronology to impact the ever-advancing present. Nolan likes to experiment with narrative, with memory, with perception, and the notion of physical action having an equal and opposite reaction—but in reverse—is rich for exploration, combining aspects of cutting edge science and philosophy.
The term for that is retrocausality, but Tenet looks better on a movie poster.