As movie fans around the world continue to theorize and debate the details of Christopher Nolan's upcoming film, Tenet, a music video from 2012 might actually hold the biggest clue. Following a number of short films, Nolan broke into Hollywood with the critically acclaimed, cerebral thriller Memento. Starring Guy Pearce and Carrie Anne-Moss, the film told the time-bending, twisty tale of a man unable to form new memories as he attempted to hunt down his wife's killer. The London-born director has since gone on to amass a truly eclectic body of work - from acclaimed comic book fare like The Dark Knight to historical dramas like Dunkirk.
With Tenet, however, all indications point towards Nolan returning to the kind of mind-boggling experience offered by Inception and 2014's Interstellar. Thus far, only a sliver of a synopsis exists, teasing "an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage". Nolan has, however, amassed a star-studded cast to help him tell the story. Robert Pattinson (The Batman) will star and previously described the enigmatic film as "unreal". Alongside him, Tenet will also feature Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (The King's Man), and regular Nolan collaborator, Michael Caine. Most recently, Yesterday's Himesh Patel signed on to the project. BlackKklansman star John David Washington has also been confirmed and was most prominently featured in the film's first teaser, which debuted exclusively in theaters.
In a strange twist of fate, the biggest clue to Tenet so far might actually come from a specific music video from an American rock-band called Eve 6. Originally formed in 1995, the group have disbanded, reformed their line-up, and ultimately reunited numerous times. Along the way, they enjoyed a number of hit singles. The video in question for their track, "Curtain". The video was notable for featuring an actor walking and lip-syncing backward. The footage was then played in reverse, creating an optical illusion effect where time appeared to be moving in reverse around him as he ventured somewhat normally around a bay area, before ultimately ending up in the same place from which he began.
The similarities between the music video and the Tenet teaser are quite pronounced. The latter has Washington's still-unnamed character, after inhaling from an oxygen mask, in the far corner of a room. Moving forward, he inspects a bullet hole before moving on and inspecting a second - both of which can be seen in the seemingly bullet-proof glass of a window. He then once again inspects the first before, also, ultimately returning his original starting position. The movements of both Washington and the actor from the music video share the same slightly unnatural, staggered quality. Equally, the smoke glimpsed in the film's teaser appeared to be moving in a direction antithetical to all expectation and scientific logic - similar to many of the items the music video's actor interacts with.
Whether or not the technique demonstrated will be an element of Tenet itself, however, or was simply used for the teaser remains to be seen. Whatever the case, it would remain impressive. Such an unusual style of filming which would certainly correlate with what's known about Tenet - right down to the palindrome that is the film's title, the rumors that the space-time continuum will factor heavily, and even Tenet's official logo. Equally, a film that was shot in reverse - and with a story that could work if told backward as well as forwards - would definitely fit in right alongside the brain-melting nature of Nolan's previous works. If it is indeed the case, Tenet could become even more of a film to be excited for and further solidify Nolan's status as one of the greatest directors of the last decade, if not of all time.
- Tenet (2020) release date: Jul 17, 2020