With Christopher Nolan’s time-inverted spy thriller Tenet releasing of DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms this week, the director has revealed the film was actually inspired by his 2000 breakout backwards-mystery thriller Memento.
In an interview with Complex, Nolan discussed how Tenet has been hinted at in his earlier work starting with Memento as well as revealing that the 2000 film actually features a Tenet Easter egg in the movie.
“I had this notion of just a bullet getting sucked out of the wall and into the barrel of a gun. It’s an image that I had in Memento to demonstrate the structure of that movie, but I always harboured this ambition to make a film where the characters had to deal with the physical reality of that. In a way, an idea comes to the fore when the time is right for it, and it’s a hard process to quantify, so I was doing all these other things.”
This seems appropriate for a director that has always been interested in the concept of time and it’s no surprise that the core of Tenet is closely linked to the opening events of Memento which also messes around with time as the film is later revealed to be playing backwards.
In the same interview, Nolan continued to explain why it took his so long to actually develop Tenet instead of working it all out in his previous movies.
“There are things that you learn how to make and everything in Tenet, interestingly, on the surface of it, they’re all versions of action or particular ways of filming things that I’ve tried before in a different form. You’re building on what you’ve done in the past.”
Or, as he put it a little more bluntly, “I’ve been busy.”
Armed with only one word – Tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real-time. Not time travel. Inversion.
Tenet sees Christopher Nolan directing a cast that includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.