Soon, the incubators formerly known as movie theaters will open once again, offering film buffs much-needed escapism. At least, if escaping reality means not knowing what the hell is going on for three hours straight as the first big film to hit theaters will likely be Christopher Nolan's latest volley in the war against linearity, Tenet. But the movie's actors want you to know not to be embarrassed if Tenet loses you in the first minute because you'll only be as confused as the people on the screen when they were making it.
In an interview with Total Film, Kenneth Brannagh, who plays a shadowy counterpart to John David Washington's The Protagonist, has confessed he still doesn't fully understand the plot to Tenet to the point that's he's not sure that his Russian-spy-played-by-a-British-actor is supposed to be the bad guy or not. "I read this screenplay more times than I have ever read any other thing I have ever worked on," said the veteran thespian, "It was like doing the Times crossword puzzle every day." And if a filmmaker who has spent the last 40 years decoding Shakespeare plays and all its made-up words describes a movie as a gibberish cipher, what chance do you think the average audience member has of ever finding out what the hell an "inversion" is?
Warner Bros. Pictures
With this confused confession, Branagh joins the ever-growing chorus of people who spent months working on Tenet but still don't have a clue what Tenet is about. A wild-eyed Robert Pattinson has already tried and spectacularly failed to summarize the movie to interviewers. But even after Nolan called him out for "slightly fucking" with reporters, the actor keeps insisting that he had to beg his co-star Washington to tell him who he was supposed to be playing again:
"On the last day, I asked him a question about what was happening in a scene, and it was just so profoundly the wrong take on the character. And it was like, 'Have you been thinking this the entire time?'"
And while John David Washington was explaining Tenet to Pattinson, Nolan had to explain Tenet to his leading man every single day. In an interview in Fortnite (you read that correctly), Washington admitted he had to quiz Nolan daily to keep up with the Fictional Physics postgrad program that is this summertime blockbuster. But like a frustrated tutor, Nolan does insist that all of his actors were more than capable of understanding the plot of Tenet, it's just that" a complete grasp of the script, in the case of Tenet, is one that understands and acknowledges the need for this film to live on in the audience's mind, and suggest possibilities in the audience's mind" -- an explanation offers as much clarity as his actual movies.
So there you have it: Tenet is Nolan's masterpiece, a movie that's intentionally impossible to understand unless you have Nolan sitting next to you in the theater, sneaking your nachos under his face mask as he explains how they "catch bullets" in reverse. So instead of trying to make sense of Tenet, just let go and let your lizard brain enjoy Nolan's other two cinematic staples -- weird timey/yemit fight scenes and boringly handsome men in boring suits talking boringly about dream logic. And when you get home, and the doubt creeps in, resist looking up the inevitable flood of "Every Individual Minute of Tenet EXPLAINED" 195-part series that's going to populate YouTube for the next 16 years.
Following Cedric on Twitter is also a kind of inversion -- it lowers his self-esteem.
Top Image: Warner Bros. Pictures