Christopher Nolan and his take on time in the upcoming Tenet


Time is the recurrent theme in all Christopher Nolan movies. What is time? The question has always puzzled scientists, philosophers and the inquisitive minds. Albert Einstein, the best brain in the world of science and the brain that most people think is the greatest that ever lived, has defined time as an entity that cannot be separated from pace. Space and time is entwined with each other like a fabric.

The latest trailer of Tenet, written and directed by Christopher Nolan is as complex and intriguing as the rest of his filmography. Inception, Prestige and Interstellar as well as the Dark Knight Trilogy have deeper psychological, Sci-Fi and emotional connotations. The trailer of Tenet has propelled movie buffs and critics into thinking that Tenet is some kind of a sequel or a spin-off of Inception. The trailer has given nothing away yet the dialogues and some of the sequences in the trailer hint at the themes stated above.

We can take time as the most important theme in Tenet. In one of the scenes John David Washington looks at the bullet holes in glass and says that the event ‘has not happened yet’. It is a clear indication that the theme of time runs deep in the movie.

If we take the scientific explanation of time as expounded by Einstein then we cannot ignore space while taking it into account. This is, in my view, the most common mistake that most of us make while trying to come to grips with the problem of time. Time and space is one entity. If you lose one you lose the other. Just as you cannot live the same moment twice, you cannot occupy the same space the next moment. This notion is enough to turn the world upside down. In Tenet Christopher Nolan seems to have done exactly that, turn the world upside down. He seems to have done it by bringing together ‘space and time’ into developing the concept of movie.

Christopher Nolan brings yet another mind-bending and heart touching movie named Tenet.

What could make Tenet different and unique from the rest of Christopher Nolan movies is the realization that time and space are one. According to Stephen Hawking one can possibly travel to the future but there is no way that one could travel back to the past. But this conception of time is based on the notion that time is irreversible. On the other hand another understanding of time is that it does not pass through us rather we pass through time which is already there like frames of a motion picture. In that case time travel becomes probable and the horizon of possibilities expands.

Cinema all over the world is evolving. Old ideas are getting new forms and gaining in intensity. Todd Phillips’ Joker is one example. Christopher Nolan is certainly experimenting with ideas and cinematic techniques which he is famous for. What remain to be seen that will he be able to make sense out of the chaotic ideas knitted with visual complexities. He has been successful in the past and one can hope that he will pull a real theatrical masterpiece out of his obsession with time.