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Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh
OUR RATING: ★★★★½
Sci-fi action thriller written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
Our Favorite Quotes:'What's happened's happened. Which is an expression of faith in the mechanics of the world. It's not an excuse to do nothing.' - Neil (Tenet) Click To Tweet
Protagonist: [undercover SWAT operation at a Ukrainian opera house] We live in a twilight world.
Well-Dressed Man: And there are no friends at dusk.
Protagonist: You’ve been made. This siege is a blind for them to vanish you.
Well-Dressed Man: But I established contact.
Protagonist: Bring you in or kill you. I have two minutes. Make up your mind.
SWAT: No friends at dusk, huh?
Protagonist: You’ll do. Get him to the rally point.
Protagonist: [referring to the bomb] Can you defuse that?
SWAT 2: It’s centrally synchronized. Are there more?
Protagonist: [nods] Covering their tracks.
SWAT 2: Taking out the audience?
Protagonist: They’re just the cheap seats.
SWAT: That’s not our mission!
Protagonist: Mine now.
Fay: [protagonist wakes after taking the cyanide pill] Welcome to the afterlife. You’ve been in a medically-induced coma while we got you out of Ukraine and rebuilt your mouth.
Protagonist: The suicide pills are fake. Why?
Fay: A test.
Protagonist: A test? They pulled my teeth out.
Protagonist: Somebody talked.
Fay: Not you. You chose to die instead of giving up your colleagues.
Fay: [to the protagonist] We all believe we’d run into the burning building. But until we feel that heat, we can never know. You do.
Protagonist: I resign.
Fay: You don’t work for us. You’re dead. Your duty transcends national interests. This is about survival.
Fay: Everyone’s. There’s a cold war, cold as ice. To even know its true nature is to lose. This is knowledge divided. All I have for you is a gesture in combination with a word. Tenet. Use it carefully. It’ll open the right doors, but some of the wrong ones too.
Protagonist: That’s all they’ve told you?
Fay: That test you passed? Not everybody does.
'We all believe we'd run into the burning building. But until we feel that heat, we can never know.' - Fay (Tenet) Click To Tweet
Barbara: [catches the protagonist trying to open the doors to her lab] With a high-vis vest and a clipboard, you can get almost anywhere. Almost.
Protagonist: An obscure tenet.
Barbara: No small talk. Nothing that might reveal who we are, or what we do.
Protagonist: I thought I was here to find out what we do.
Barbara: You’re not here for “what”, you’re here for “how”. “What” is your department, and not my business.
Protagonist: Well, to do what I do, I need some idea of the threat we face.
Barbara: As I understand it, we’re trying to prevent World War III.
Protagonist: Nuclear holocaust?
Barbara: No. Something worse.
Barbara: One of these bullets is like us, traveling forwards through time. The other one’s going backwards. Can you tell which is which?
Barbara: [as one of the bullets is pulled up into her hand] How about now? It’s inverted. Its entropy runs backwards. So, to our eyes, its movement is reversed.
Protagonist: So where did it come from?
Barbara: Someone’s manufacturing them in the future. They’re streaming back at us. Try it. You have to have dropped it.
Protagonist: How can it move before I touch it?
Barbara: From your point of view, you caught it. But from the bullet’s point of view, you dropped it.
Protagonist: But cause comes before effect.
Barbara: No, that’s just the way we see time.
Protagonist: Well, what about free will?
Barbara: That bullet wouldn’t have moved if you hadn’t put your hand there. Either way we run the tape, you made it happen. Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.
Protagonist: Why does it feel so strange?
Barbara: You’re not shooting the bullet. You’re catching it.
'It's hard to take things on trust from people speaking half-truths.' - Protagonist (Tenet) Click To Tweet
Protagonist: I’ve seen this type of ammunition before.
Barbara: In the field?
Protagonist: I was almost hit.
Barbara: Then you were exceedingly lucky. An inverted bullet passing through your body would be devastating. Not pretty.
Protagonist: [referring to the ammunition] These look like today’s.
Barbara: They may have been made today and inverted years from now.
Protagonist: Where did you get them?
Barbara: Came with the wall. I was assigned it, like all the material I’m studying here.
Protagonist: Look, I’m not seeing Armageddon here.
Barbara: The bullet may not seem like much, but it’s a simple machine. Lead bullet, brass casing, gunpowder. If they can invert that, I see no reason they couldn’t invert pretty much anything. Even a nuclear weapon can only affect our future. An inverted weapon might be able to affect our past as well.
Barbara: Now that we know what to look for, we’re finding more and more inverted material. Remnants of complex objects.
Protagonist: What do you think we’re seeing?
Barbara: The detritus of a coming war.
Neil: [ordering drinks] Vodka tonic. And a Diet Coke.
Neil: You never drink on the job.
Protagonist: You’re well-informed.
Neil: Well, pays to be in our profession.
Protagonist: Well, I prefer soda water.
Neil: No, you don’t.
'Don't try to understand it. Feel it.' - Barbara (Tenet) Click To Tweet
Protagonist: Singh’s house isn’t tall enough to parachute off of.
Neil: It’s bungee jumpable.
Protagonist: I don’t think “bungee jumpable” is a word.
Neil: It may not be a word, but it may be our only way out of that place. Or into it, for that matter.
Sanjay: Look, my friend, guns are never conducive to a productive negotiation.
Protagonist: I’m not the man they send to negotiate. Or the man they send to make deals. But I am the man people talk to.
Protagonist: You’re an arms dealer, friend. This may be the easiest trigger I’ve ever had to pull.
Priya: To say anything about a client would violate the tenets he lives by.
Protagonist: If tenets are important to you, then you can tell me. Everything.
Priya: Not while you have a gun to my husband’s head.
Protagonist: This is your operation?
Priya: A masculine front in a man’s world has its uses.
Priya: [referring to Sator] When I sold him the rounds, they were perfectly ordinary.
Protagonist: So how did he get them inverted?
Priya: We believe he’s functioning as some sort of a broker. Between our time and the future.
Protagonist: He can communicate with the future?
Priya: We all do, don’t we? E-mails, credit cards, texts. Anything that goes into the record speaks directly to the future. The question is, can the future speak back?
'The world will never know what could've happened. And even if they did, they wouldn't care. Because no one cares about the bomb that didn't go off. Only the one that did.' - Neil (Tenet) Click To Tweet
Priya: [to the protagonist] To get anywhere near Sator would take a fresh faced protagonist. And you are fresh as a daisy. Get close. Find out what he’s receiving and how.
Steward: May I help you, sir?
Protagonist: I’m Mr. Crosby’s lunch.
Steward: I presume you mean Sir Michael Crosby’s lunch.
Protagonist: Presume away.
Protagonist: Well, how do I get to Sator?
Crosby: [referring to Sator’s wife, Kat] Well, through her, of course.
Protagonist: You may have an inflated idea of my powers of seduction.
Crosby: Hardly. We have an ace in the hole.
Protagonist: You’re carrying a Goya in a Harrods bag.
Crosby: It’s a fake by a Spaniard named Arepo.
Crosby: Look, no offense, but in this world, when someone is claiming to be a billionaire, Brooks Brothers won’t cut it.
Protagonist: I’m assuming I’m on a budget.
Crosby: [gives the protagonist a credit card] Save the world, then we’ll balance the books. Can I recommend a tailor?
Protagonist: I’ll manage. You British don’t have a monopoly on snobbery, you know.
Crosby: Well, not a monopoly. More of a controlling interest.
Protagonist: [referring to his food] Could you box that up for me?
Steward: Certainly not.
'It's the bomb that didn't go off. The danger no one knew was real. That's the bomb with the real power to change the world.' - Neil (Tenet) Click To Tweet
Protagonist: [referring to Sator knowing the painting is fake] He knows? And he’s never done anything about it?
Kat: Why would he? He paid nine million for it. Barely cover the cost of the holiday he just forced us on.
Protagonist: Where did you go, Mars?
Kat: Vietnam, on our yacht. His yacht.