[Neil sits down next to the protagonist]
Neil: It seems you need an introduction to a prominent Mumbai local on short notice. I’m Neil.
The Protagonist: I need an audience with Sanjay Singh.
Neil: That’s not possible.
The Protagonist: Ten minutes, tops.
Neil: Time isn’t the problem. Getting out alive is the problem.
[as he’s ordering drinks for them]
Neil: Vodka tonic. And a diet coke.
[the protagonist looks at him]
Neil: What? You never drink on the job.
The Protagonist: You’re well informed.
Neil: It pays to be in our profession.
The Protagonist: Well, I prefer soda water.
Neil: [smiling] No, you don’t.
The Protagonist: Singh’s house isn’t tall enough to parachute off of.
Neil: It’s bungee jumpable.
The 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.
[as the protagonist gets into Singh’s place, holds him at gunpoint to find out where the inverted bullets came from]
Sanjay: Why should I know who supplied it?
The Protagonist: Combinations of metals is unique to India. If It’s from India, it’s from you.
Sanjay: Fine assumption.
The Protagonist: Deduction.
Sanjay: Deduction then. Look, my friend, guns are never conducive to a productive negotiation.
The 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.
Sanjay: I can’t. I can’t tell you.
The 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 terms he lives by.
The Protagonist: If tenants are important to you, then you can tell me. Everything.
Priya: Not while you have a gun to my husband’s head.
The Protagonist: This is your operation.
Priya: A masculine front in a man’s world has its uses.
[after Priya confirms she sold the ammunition to Russian oligarch Andrei Sator]
Priya: When I sold him the arms they were perfectly ordinary.
The 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.
The Protagonist: He can communicate with the future?
Priya: We all do, don’t we? Emails, credit cards, texts. Anything that goes into the records speaks directly to the future.
Priya: The question is, can the future speak back?
The Protagonist: And I’m supposed to find out.
Priya: To get anywhere near Sator will take a fresh faced protagonist. And you are fresh as a daisy. Get close. Find out what he’s receiving and how.
The Protagonist: Is it safe to involve British Intelligence?
Priya: I have a contact who’s out of Sator’s reach.
[as he sees the police surrounding Priya’s building]
Priya: You must have had a plan for getting out.
The Protagonist: Not one I love.
Steward: May I help you, sir?
The Protagonist: I’m Mr. Crosby’s lunch.
Steward: I presume you mean Sir Michael Crosby’s lunch.
The Protagonist: Presume away.
Michael Crosby: I gather you have an interest in a certain Russian national.
The Protagonist: Anglo Russian. So I’ll have to watch my step.
Michael Crosby: Indeed. He’s tapped into the intelligence services. I’ve warned them he’s feeding then rubbish, but they don’t seem to care.
Michael Crosby: Two weeks ago, same date as The Kyiv Opera siege, we spotted a detonation in Northern Siberia. Just where Stalsk 12 was. Sato emerged from this black spot on the map, with ambition, and enough money to buy his way into the British establishment.
The Protagonist: Through his wife.
Michael Crosby: Katherine Barton. Eldest niece of Sir Frederick Barton. She works at Shipley’s. Met Sator at an auction.
The Protagonist: A happy marriage?
Michael Crosby: Practically estranged.
The Protagonist: Well, how do I get to Sator?
Michael Crosby: Well, through her of course.
The Protagonist: Well, you may have an inflated idea of my powers of seduction.
Michael Crosby: Hardly.
Michael Crosby: We have an ace in the hole.
The Protagonist: You’re carrying a Goya, in a Harrods bag.
Michael Crosby: It’s a fake by a Spaniard, named Arepo. One of two we confiscated from an embezzler in Bern.
The Protagonist: What happened to the other one?
Michael Crosby: It turned up at Shipley’s, authenticated by Katherine Barton. Put on auction. And who do you think bought it?
The Protagonist: Her husband?
Michael Crosby: Mm-hmm.
[referring to Kat]
The Protagonist: Does she know it’s a forgery?
Michael Crosby: Well, it’s hard to say. Rumor has it that she and Arepo were close.
Michael Crosby: Look, no offense. But in this world where someone is claiming to be a billionaire, Brooks Brothers won’t cut it.
The Protagonist: I’m assuming I’m on a budget.
Michael Crosby: Save the world, then we’ll balance the books. Can I recommend a tailor?
[he gives the protagonist a credit card]
The Protagonist: I’ll manage. You British don’t have a monopoly on snobbery, you know.
Michael Crosby: Well, not a monopoly. More of a controlling interest.
[he gets up to leave and his food arrives]
The Protagonist: Can you box that up for me?
Steward: Certainly not.
Kat: Sorry, I wasn’t notified of any appointments. Mister…?
The Protagonist: Goya.
Kat: Mr. Goya.
The Protagonist: No. I’m told you’re the person to see about Goya.
[he gives her the painting Crosby gave him]
[after he manages to get a meeting with Kat through the fake painting]
The Protagonist: My drawing’s a very good fake. You know that better than anyone. The information is the bargain.
Kat: The information that I helped defraud my own husband.
The Protagonist: He and I in related businesses, but he’s a very hard man to meet. If you and I were to make an arrangement…
Kat: Arrangement. You mean blackmail. Don’t be afraid of the word. My husband isn’t. I’m sorry to tell you he got there first.
[referring to Sator]
The Protagonist: He knows? And he’s never done anything about it?
Kat: Why would he?
The Protagonist: He paid nine million dollars for it.
Kat: Barely cover the costs for the holiday he just forced us on.
The Protagonist: Where did you go, Mars?
Kat: You’ve got the suit, the shoes, the watch. But you’re a little out of your depth.
The Protagonist: People who’ve amassed fortunes, like your husband’s, generally aren’t okay with being cheated out of any of it.
Kat: The drawing is his hold over me. He threatened me with police. Prison. The works. He controls me. The contact with my son. Everything. Leaving would never have been easy, but now it’s impossible. You can’t fight. Just beg.
Kat: [referring to Sator] In Vietnam I tried to love him again. I thought if there was love there he might give me my son back. We sat, on that bloody boat watching the sunsets, imitating some time earlier in our lives. He seemed happy, so I asked him. And he made me an offer. He’d let me go if I agreed never to see my son again. I expressed myself. I took Max ashore. He called us contrite.
[referring to the woman she saw diving off of Sator’s boat]
Kat: I never felt such envy.
The Protagonist: You don’t seem the jealous type.
Kat: Of her freedom. You know how I dream of just diving off that boat?
The Protagonist: But you share a son.
Kat: That’s my life now.
The Protagonist: Did you know the drawing was a fake?
Kat: No. Tomas and I became close, maybe too close. I failed. Andrei can’t conceive of failure, only betrayal. But I didn’t betray my husband. In retrospect, maybe I missed my chance.
The Protagonist: And he let Arepo walk free.
Kat: If you’d actually met Arepo, as you claimed, you’d understand he no longer walks, anywhere.
The Protagonist: We spoke on the phone.
Kat: He can’t do that either.
The Protagonist: Give me an introduction. I’ll take the drawing out of the equation. No picture, no prosecution, no more hold over you. I might just be your second chance.
Kat: I don’t need redemption.
The Protagonist: At betrayal.
[as Sator’s men show up at their table]
The Protagonist: You must have not really liked the look of me.
Kat: The look was fine. It’s best to get to the nasty part before I care one way or the other.
[she gets up and kisses him on the cheek]
The Protagonist: There’s a number in your left coat pocket. Don’t call from home.
Kat: You won’t be taking my call.
The Protagonist: I might surprise you.
[as they wait in the car as Sator wants Kat to see the protagonist get killed]
Driver: And he gets what he wants.
[they see the protagonist walk out of the building alive]
Kat: Not always apparently.
[as they are planning to steal the painting from the storage facility at Oslo Airport]
Neil: What are you hoping to find in there?
The Protagonist: You really want to know?
Neil: I’m not sure.
The Protagonist: Bring some lead-lined gloves.
Neil: Jesus. It’s nuclear.
[referring to a plan to get break into the airport storage facility]
The Protagonist: You got something?
Neil: You’re not going to like it.
The Protagonist: You want to crash a plane?
Neil: Well, not from the air. Don’t be so dramatic. I want to run a jet off the taxi-way, breach through the wall, and start a fire.
The Protagonist: Well, how big a plane?
Neil: Well, that part is a little dramatic.
[referring to his plan of crashing a cargo plane]
The Protagonist: You want to crash a transport plane? What about the crew?
Mahir: We pop the slides, chuck them off.
The Protagonist: On the move?
Mahir: What’s the problem, they’ll be fine.
The Protagonist: Well, it seems bold.
Mahir: “Bold” I’m fine with. I thought you were going to say “nuts”.
The Protagonist: And if you get caught?
Mahir: We won’t.
[referring to the bullet holes in the glass inside the storage facility]
Neil: What the hell happened here?
The Protagonist: It hasn’t happened yet.
[suddenly two masked men emerge from a machine and start attacking them]
[after Neil stops the protagonist from killing the inverted masked man]
Neil: Don’t kill him! We need to know if we’re compromised.
The Protagonist: Why are you here?! Who are you?! How did you know we would be here?!
Neil: We need to go.
The Protagonist: What happened to the other guy?
Neil: I took care of him.
[after they make it out of the storage faciltiy]
Neil: Well, I’ve seen too much. I’m still alive, which must mean you’ve decided to trust me.
The Protagonist: Or maybe I’ve lost my edge.
Neil: Your edge is still intact.
The Protagonist: There’s a cold war.
The Protagonist: Temporal.
Neil: Time travel.
The Protagonist: No. Techonology that can invert an object’s entropy.
Neil: You mean reverse chronology? Like Feynman and Wheeler’s notion that a positron and electron moving backwards in time.
The Protagonist: Sure. That’s exactly what I meant.
Neil: I have a master’s in physics.
The Protagonist: Well, try and keep up.
Neil: The implications of this are…
The Protagonist: Beyond secret.
Neil: Then why did you bring me in?
The Protagonist: I thought we’d find a drawing and a couple boxes of bullets.
Neil: Not as surprised as I was.
The Protagonist: I’ll set you up as a go between. But remember, to you, it’s all about plutonium. Or when we’re done, they’ll kill you.
Neil: Won’t you have to do that anyway?
The Protagonist: I would rather that be my decision.
Neil: So would I. I think.
[after he meets Priya in Mumbai]
Priya: What did you find in the vaults?
The Protagonist: Two antagonists. One inverted. We took out the regular one, but the inverted one got away.
Priya: Both emerged at the same moment?
The Protagonist: Yeah.
Priya: They were the same person.
Priya: Sator’s built a Turnstile in that vault.
The Protagonist: Turnstile?
Priya: A machine, for inverting.
The Protagonist: You told me that technology hasn’t been invented yet!
Priya: It hasn’t. He’s been given it by the future.
The Protagonist: For what?
Priya: You have the best chance of finding out.
[referring to Sator]
Priya: Have you met him?
The Protagonist: I was close.
Priya: What if you have something he needs.
The Protagonist: Such as?
The Protagonist: Helping an arms dealer steal weapons grade plutonium is unacceptable, Priya. I’m just going to take him out.
Priya: No, no, no, no. No, Sator has to stay alive. He has to stay alive until we know his part in things. Manage the situation without losing control of the 241.
The Protagonist: It’s too dangerous.
Priya: A terrorist bomb, even one that can kill billions, is nothing compared to what could happen if we don’t stop Sator.
The Protagonist: From doing what?
Priya: We are being attacked by the future. And Sator’s helping. You have to find out how.
[referring to the painting]
Kat: You destroyed it?
The Protagonist: I didn’t think you’d want it back.
Kat: Does he know?
The Protagonist: Not yet. So sit tight.
Kat: Sit tight. Every day my son spends with that monster, he thinks a little less of me.
The Protagonist: It won’t be long. In the mean time, introduce me.
Kat: He’ll think we’re having an affair.
The Protagonist: Then he’ll want to meet me.
Kat: Or have you killed.
The Protagonist: Let me worry about that.
Kat: Did I look worried?
Andrei Sator: Who is the American?
Kat: He’s a friend.
Andrei Sator: The man from Shipley’s.
Kat: Who you tried to have beaten up.
Andrei Sator: I ask again. Who is he?
Kat: We met in Riyadh last June at the American Embassy.
Andrei Sator: Good with fists for a diplomat.
Kat: Paranioa is your department, Andrei. He seems nice. I invited him to the dinner.
[as one of Sator’s guards is body searching him]
The Protagonist: Hey! Easy, fella. Where I’m from you buy me dinner first.
[as he joins the dinner table]
The Protagonist: Mr. Sator.
Andrei Sator: Don’t bother. Just tell me if you’ve slept with my wife yet.
The Protagonist: Uh, no. Not yet.
Andrei Sator: How would you like to die?
The Protagonist: Old.
Andrei Sator: You chose the wrong profession.
Andrei Sator: There’s a walled garden up the road. We’re going to take you there and cut your throat. Not across. In the middle, like a hole. Then we take your balls and we stuff them in the cut to block the windpipe.
The Protagonist: Complex.
Andrei Sator: It is very gratifying to watch a man you don’t like try to pull his own balls out of his throat before he chokes.
The Protagonist: This is how you treat all your guests?
Andrei Sator: We’re finished.
[as Sator’s guard approaches the protagonist to take him]
The Protagonist: Do you like opera?
Andrei Sator: What?
The Protagonist: Not here.
Andrei Sator: You sail?
The Protagonist: I’ve messed around on boats.
Andrei Sator: Be on the dock at eight, ready to do more than mess around.
Kat: You want the trappings of a king. We both know you’re a grubby little man playing power games with a wife who doesn’t love you anymore.
Andrei Sator: You seem spirited today.
Kat: Do I?
Andrei Sator: Yes, you do.
[as Kat sees the forged painting on her breakfast plate]
Andrei Sator: Were you worried it had been destroyed? Rest assured, instict told me to remove it from the vault. I’ve always had instincts about the future. That’s how I built this life you no longer value.
[after the protagonist tells him about the missing plutonium]
Andrei Sator: What do you propose?
The Protagonist: A partnership.
Andrei Sator: I wouldn’t partner with you. You can take care of yourself. You have no record.
The Protagonist: Someone in the arms trade with training. One that covers his tracks. Not that shocking.
Andrei Sator: Or an intelligence agent.
[as she attemps to drown Sator]
Kat: Burn in hell, Andrei!
[after the protagonist saves Sator from drowning]
Kat: Why didn’t you let him drown?
The Protagonist: I need him.
Kat: To sell guns?
The Protagonist: I’m not who you think I am.
Kat: That I know. He showed me the drawing.
The Protagonist: I’m sorry. I had to get close to him.
The Protagonist: I don’t know what you think you’re husband does.
Kat: Oh, we both know he’s an arms dealer.
The Protagonist: He’s so much more.
Kat: What then?
The Protagonist: Andrei Sator holds all of our lives in his hands, not just yours.
The Protagonist: Trust me.
Kat: Save it. I’m not falling for it twice.
The Protagonist: You have a better option?
Kat: Whatever it takes to get what you want. Not a second thought for me or my son.
Kat: What do you think he’s going to do to you now?
[the protagonist gives her a gun]
The Protagonist: Try not to use it. Not on anyone.
Andrei Sator: Drink with me. It seems I now owe you my life.
The Protagonist: It was nothing.
Andrei Sator: My life is not nothing. And I don’t like to be in debt.
The Protagonist: Then pay me, in a retribution against your wife.
Andrei Sator: You think she released my harness? Hm. It was my own mistake.
[referring to how he used to dig plutonium from his city, Stalsk 12]
Andrei Sator: They needed people to find the plutonium. It became my first contract. Nobody else even bid. They thought it was a death sentence. But one man’s probability of death is another man’s possibility for a life. I staked my claim in a new Russia. Even now my company is the only one to operate in the ruins.
Kat: Don’t think for a second you can treat me like you treat your other women.
Andrei Sator: And how do you imagine I treat these other women, huh? Do you think I force them into conversation? You want to be quiet? Fine. You can bite down on that.
[he throws a pillow at her]
Kat: Even a soul as blank and brittle as yours needs a response. Is fear and pain enough, Andrei? It’s all I have to offer you.
Andrei Sator: Well, that will have to do then.
Kat: Why don’t you just let me go?
Andrei Sator: Because if I can’t have you, no one else can.
Kat: And if you touch me, I scream so loud he hears.
Andrei Sator: You think I will let him interfere?
Kat: If you try to, you’ll have to kill him. End of deal. So you leave me alone.
[after Sator’s men catch the protagonist spying on him on the boat]
Andrei Sator: Who are you? Where do you come by your information about the opera?
The Protagonist: You wouldn’t do business with someone who wasn’t savvy enough to be recruited. Now the CIA provides two-thirds of the market for fossile material.
Andrei Sator: They’re usually buying, not selling. But we do live in a twilight world.
The Protagonist: Is that Whitman? Pretty.
Andrei Sator: Next one is a bullet in the brain.
The Protagonist: No ball in my throat?
Andrei Sator: There will be no time for such things.
Andrei Sator: I spring the material. You pay me off. And your wife does the exchange.
The Protagonist: I never involve her in my business.
Andrei Sator: Yeah, that’s why I trust her.
[referring to how Sator gets the inverted materials]
The Protagonist: Dead drops. He burries his time capsule, transmits the location, then digs it up to collect the inverted materials they send him.
Neil: Seemingly instantanious. Where does he bury it?
The Protagonist: Some place that won’t be discovered for centuries.
[to Neil, referring to Sator]
The Protagonist: His ignorance is our only protection.
[referring to the guns]
Andrei Sator: You see, Kat. Some of my favorites. Singed, but salvagable. Wouldn’t you say?
Kat: It’s not my area of expertise.
Andrei Sator: Ah, that’s right. You would never have anything to do with such things. But this is where our worlds collide.
Kat: What is this, Andrei?
Andrei Sator: You know perfectly well what it is, Kat. The filthy business that put those clothes on your back and our boy in his school. What you thought you could negotiate your way around.
Andrei Sator: Look at me! And understand you don’t negotiate with a tiger. You admire tiger, until it turns on you. And you feel it’s true f***ing nature!
[Kat pulls out the gun the protagonist gave her and points it at him]
Kat: You stay right there.
Andrei Sator: You’re not going to kill me.
Kat: I already tried.
Andrei Sator: You pushed me off a boat. You are not going to shoot me in cold blood.
Kat: My blood’s not cold, Andrei.
Andrei Sator: No, but you’re not angry enough. Because anger scars over into despair. I look in your eyes, I see despair.
[he suddenly takes the gun from her and hits her with it]
[referring to the object they’ve stolen from the armoured convoy]
The Protagonist: I’ve seen samples of encapsulation in every weapons classes. This is not one of them.
Neil: That’s what he’s after.
[referring to voice over the radio]
Neil: I can’t understand this.
The Protagonist: You said you spoke Estonian.
Neil: It’s not Estonian. It’s backwards.
[as Sator wants the stolen object in exchange for Kat]
Neil: Don’t give it to him.
The Protagonist: This isn’t plutonium!
Neil: It’s worse than that, goddammit!
[to the protagonist as he’s trying to save her]
Kat: [screams] Hurry up!
[an inverted Sator captures both the Protagonist and Kat; referring to the stolen object]
The Protagonist: It’s in the glove box!
Andrei Sator: Where did you leave it? The car or the fire truck? Which one? Which vehicle did you leave it in? I need to know before I go out there?
The Protagonist: I already told you.
[as they watch the inverted Sator leave a mortally wounded Kat]
Andrei Sator: I believe you. You wanted her here. I hope you’ll be happy.
[just then a team of Tenet operatives led by Ives arrives]
[after Ives and his team rescue him, referring to Sator]
The Protagonist: Where did he go?
Ives: The past.
Ives: Is she shot with an inverted round?
[the protagonist nods]
[as he’s got hold of Neil, referring to Sator]
The Protagonist: He knew every move we made! Every one! Somebody talked. Who was it? Was it you?
The Protagonist: At every stage you’ve known too much. I’m going to ask you again. Did you talk?
Ives: Nobody talked. We’re running on temporal or pincer movement.
The Protagonist: A what?
Ives: A pincer movement. But not in space. In time. Half his team moves forward through the event, he monitors them and attacks and then moves backwards. They know everything.
[referring to the object, which isn’t plutonium]
Neil: And you just told them where it was.
The Protagonist: I lied.
Neil: Jesus. You lied about it?
The Protagonist: He couldn’t verify inside the room. He’d have shot her anyway. Lying is standard operating procedure.
[referring to taking Kat to the past to help save her]
The Protagonist: I’m taking her through. I’m not going to let her die. I’ll take my chances.
Ives: There’s no way of bringing you back.
The Protagonist: Then find another machine.
Ives: A week ago? Where?
The Protagonist: Oslo.
Ives: That facility is inside an air force security perimeter. It’s impenetrable.
Neil: Mm, it wasn’t last week.
Ives: We’re going in. You might as well help us.
Ives: This is a premium window. If you approach the turnstile, if you don’t see yourself in a premium window, do not enter the machine.
The Protagonist: What happens?
Ives: If you don’t see yourself reverse exit the machine, then you ain’t getting out.
The Protagonist: Is that going to work?
Ives: Yeah. See for yourself.
[they look over to the window and see themselves reversing into the machine]
Ives: There’s your answer. Let’s go.
[after they enter Sator’s Turnstile]
The Protagonist: Neil, find a way to get us to Oslo. I’m going back out there.
Neil: To do what?
The Protagonist: To stop Sator from getting away with whatever it is I just gave him.
Neil: You didn’t. You lied about where it was. Wait. You’re going out there for her.
The Protagonist: He threatened to kill her in the past. If he does, what happens to her here?
Neil: That’s unknownable. If you’re there to make change, you’re not here to observe the effect.
The Protagonist: But what do you believe?
Neil: What’s happened happened. We need to save her, here and now. If you go back out there, you might hand him exactly what he’s after.
Ives: This is cowboy s**t. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into if you go through that door.
The Protagonist: Well, I’m going. So any tips would be welcome.
[as the inverted protagonist is preparing to go outside in the past]
Wheeler: You’ll need your own air. Regular air won’t pass through the membranes of inverted lungs. Number one rule, don’t come in contact with your forward self. That’s the whole point of these barriers and protective suits.
The Protagonist: I’m not going to have time.
Wheeler: Well, if your particles come into contact…
The Protagonist: What?
The Protagonist: That would be bad, right?
Wheeler: When you exit the airlock, take a moment to orient yourself. Things will feel strange. When you run, the wind will be at your back. You will encounter fire. Ice will form on your clothes as the transfer of heat is reversed. Gravity will be normal, but is reversed for the world around you. You may experience distortions in your vision and hearing, this is normal.
The Protagonist: Can I drive a car?
Ives: Cowboy s**t.
Wheeler: I can’t vouch for the handling. Friction and wind resistance are reversed. You are inverted. The world is not.
[after the protagonist wakes from the fire Sator set to his car]
Neil: Heat transfer was reversed. You might be the first case of hypothermia from a gasoline explosion in history.
The Protagonist: At this point nothing surprises.
The Protagonist: He’s got the material, Neil. I handed it to him on a plate.
Neil: I warned you.
The Protagonist: What’s happened happened. I get it now. But it’s harder to take things on trust from people speaking half truths.
Neil: That’s not fair.
The Protagonist: You were a part of this before we met.
The Protagonist: Were you working for Priya?
The Protagonist: Who recruited you, Neil?
Neil: It can’t possibly do any good to know that right now. When this is over, if we’re still standing, and you still care, then you can hear my life story, okay?
The Protagonist: I’m sorry I involved you.
Kat: You need to tell me what’s going on.
The Protagonist: Apparently Neil here knows more about it than I do. Good luck, pal.
Neil: By telling Kat anything, we’re compromising her in Priya’s eyes.
The Protagonist: In Priya’s eyes she’s already compromised. She has the right to know why she might die.
Kat: Am I going to die?
The Protagonist: Not if we have something to say about it.
Neil: And we do.
[explaining the Algorithm]
Neil: 241 is one section of it. One out of nine. It’s a formula, blended into physical form so it can’t be copied or communicated. It’s a black box with one function.
The Protagonist: Which is?
Neil: Inversion. Not objects or people, but the world around us.
Kat: I don’t understand.
Neil: As they invert the entropy of more and more objects, the two directions of time become more intertwined. Because the environment’s entropy flows in our direction, we dominate. They’re always swimming upstream. It’s what saved your life. An inverted explosion is pushing against the environment.
The Protagonist: Pi**ing in the wind.
Neil: And the Algorithm, it’ll change the direction of that wind. It can invert the entropy of the world.
Kat: If that happens?
Neil: Oh, end of play.
The Protagonist: “End of play.” Can you be a little more precise?
Neil: Everyone and everything that’s ever lived destroyed instantly. Precise enough?
The Protagonist: I’ve been thinking. We’re their ancestors. If they destroy us, won’t that destroy them?
Neil: Which brings us to the grandfather paradox?
The Protagonist: The what?
Neil: If you went back in time and killed your own grandfather, how could you have been born to commit the act?
The Protagonist: What’s the answer?
Neil: There’s no answer. It’s a paradox. But in the future, those in power clearly believe that you can kick grandpa down the stairs, gouge his eyes out, slit his throat, without consequence.
The Protagonist: Could they be right?
Neil: Doesn’t matter. They believe it. Because they’re willing to destroy us.
The Protagonist: This reversing the flow of time, doesn’t us being here now, mean it never happens? That we stop them?
Neil: Well, optimistically, I’d say that’s right.
The Protagonist: Pessimistically?
Neil: In a parallel world’s theory we can’t know the relationship between consciousness and multiple realities. Does your head hurt yet?
The Protagonist: Yes.
Neil: Try sleep.
[after he finds out he’d fought his inverted self back in the vault and Neil had unmasked him]
The Protagonist: You knew it was me coming out of that vault. Why didn’t you say?
Neil: That’s a lot of explaining when someone’s about to bullet in your own brain.
The Protagonist: But afterwards?
Neil: It’s the same. I knew you’d be okay. What’s happened happened. If told you, and you acted differently, who knows? The policy is to suppress.
The Protagonist: Who’s policy?
Neil: Ours, my friend. We’re the people saving the world from what might have been.
[to the protagonist after they save Kat]
Neil: You did it.
Kat: He did what? Andrei has the Algorithm. You don’t know where he is.
Neil: Or when.
[he meets Priya ahead of their original meeting to change what’s going to happen]
The Protagonist: In two days you’re going to have me dangle plutonium-241 in front of the world’s most dangerous arms dealer. Now I want to know why?
Priya: You had Sator get hold of 241?
The Protagonist: No. I let him get a hold of the Algorithm. So tell about it, Priya?
Priya: It’s unique. The scientist who built it took her own life, so she couldn’t be forced to make another.
The Protagonist: A scientist in the future.
Priya: Generations from now.
The Protagonist: Why does she have to kill herself?
Priya: You’re familiar with the Manhattan project? As they approached the first atomic test, Oppenheimer became concerned that the detonation might produce a chain reaction in our world.
The Protagonist: They went ahead anyway and got lucky.
Priya: Think of our scientist as her generation’s Oppenheimer. She devizes a method for inverting the world. Becomes convinced that by destroying us, they’re destroying themselves.
The Protagonist: The grandfather paradox.
Priya: But unlike Oppenheimer, she rebels. Splitting the Algorithm into nine sections and hiding them the best place she can think of.
The Protagonist: The past. Here, now.
Priya: Sator’s lifelong mission, financed and guided by the future has been to find and reassamble the Algorithm.
The Protagonist: Why did the choose him?
Priya: Because he was a the right place at the right time.
The Protagonist: The collapse of the Soviet Union.
Priya: The most insecure moment in the history of nuclear weapons.
[after Priya confirms Sator has all nine sections now]
The Protagonist: And that’s why you’re going to do things differently this time.
Priya: To change things? So Katherine won’t get hurt?
The Protagonist: So Sato won’t get the Algorithm.
Priya: If that universe can exist, we don’t live in it.
The Protagonist: Well, let’s try.
The Protagonist: You’re going to warn me.
Priya: No, I’m not. Ignorance is our ammunition. If you had known what the Algorithm was, would you have let it fallen into Sator’s hands?
The Protagonist: You want Sator to get the last section.
Priya: That is the only way he’ll bring together the other eight.
The Protagonist: I was supposed to steal, then lose it.
Priya: Mission accomplished.
The Protagonist: You used me.
Priya: As you used Katherine. Standard operating procedure. You’ve done your part.
The Protagonist: My part? I’m the protagonist of this operation.
Priya: You are a protagonist. Did you think you were the only one capable of saving the world?
The Protagonist: No. But I am. Because I haven’t told you where he’s assembling the Algorithm or when.
Priya: You’re about to.
The Protagonist: No. I’m not.
[referring to Kat, as the protagonist wants her to help their mission]
Priya: Does he still trust her?
The Protagonist: He thinks she’s dead. But he used to.
Priya: You have started looking at the world in a new way.
The Protagonist: And now it’s your turn.
The Protagonist: I need your word that she and her son will be safe, Priya?
Priya: What good is someone’s word in our line of business?
Priya: They’ll be safe.
The Protagonist: You have a turnstile. The exact technology we’re trying to suppress.
Priya: Fighting fire with fire is a treacherous business. But there are some people in the future who want to continue the Algorithm’s journey into the past. You see, Tenet was not founded in the past. Tenet will be founded in the future.
Kat: Tell me you’re going to kill him.
The Protagonist: I can’t.
Kat: Why not? You’ve probably killed a lot of people.
Neil: Not with a dead man’s switch.
The Protagonist: The fitness tracker he wears.
Kat: He’s obsessive about his health.
Neil: It’ll be linked to a switch. Probably a simple email burst that reveals the location of the dead drop. Sets a fire, his heart stops.
The Protagonist: His death activates the Algorithm. If he dies, the world ends. No one dares kill him.
Kat: No, you’ve missed the point. He’s intending to end his life.
The Protagonist: Why?
Kat: He’s dying. Inoperable pancreatic cancer.
The Protagonist: And he’s taking the world with him.
Kat: If he can’t have it, then no one can.
Neil: He gets to choose a time and place, the end of the world. What moment does he choose?
[as they figure out that Sator’s happiest moment was his and Kat’s day in Vietnam]
Kat: To go back to that golden moment and have it be his last.
The Protagonist: Everyone’s last.
The Protagonist: We have to lift the Algorithm from the dead drop without Sator knowing. If he believes it’s there, he kills himself.
Neil: But not the rest of us. Where’s the dead drop?
The Protagonist: Knowledge divided, my friend.
Neil: You’re not going to tell me.
The Protagonist: Ignorance is our ammunition.
The Protagonist: But I need you back on that yacht, Kat.
The Protagonist: You have to stop him killing himself until we know the Algorithm is out of the dead drop.
Kat: But if I caught, then my son sees. I don’t want those moments to be full of anguish, if they’re going to be his last.
The Protagonist: They’re not.
Kat: Where’s Neil?
The Protagonist: He must have gone through already.
Kat: I didn’t get to say goodbye. This is goodbye, isn’t it?
The Protagonist: I’d like to say that you don’t have to do this, Kat.
Kat: The worse thing Andrei ever did to me was that offer he made me. Let me go if I agreed never to see my son again. I shouted and swore. But he’d seen it on my face, just for an instant. I considered it. I don’t know if I hate him more for what he’s done, because he knows that about me. A chance to help save my child, you can’t know what that means to a mother.
The Protagonist: No.
Kat: You’ve killed people you’ve hated before.
The Protagonist: It’s not usually personal.
Kat: Well, he’s dying anyway. Maybe it doesn’t even count.
The Protagonist: It always counts, Kat. You’re not there to kill him. You’re the backstop. If we don’t lift that Algorithm, and he kills himself, he takes us all with him.
Kat: You just keep your end, okay?
[he nods and she kisses his cheek]
The Protagonist: When it’s over, and you’re raising your boy, carry this.
[he gives her a phone]
The Protagonist: There may be a time and place you feel threatened. Hit “talk”, state your location, hang up.
Kat: Who gets the message.
The Protagonist: Posterity.
[after Ives has explained what the red and blue team are doing to get the Algorithm]
The Protagonist: I wanted to be on the first wave.
Ives: There is no first wave. Red team and blue team operate simultaneously. Look, don’t get on the chopper if you can’t stop thinking in linear terms. Now you want to be on team that lifts the contents of the capsule.
The Protagonist: Absolutely.
Ives: Yeah, that’s us. We’re the smaller unit.
The Protagonist: Just us?
Ives: No one who knows the contents of that capsule can leave the field. I thought we’d manage ourselves.
[after Kat inverts back in time to go back to the day on their yacht in Vietnam]
Andrei Sator: They told me you’d gone ashore.
Kat: They told me you’d flown off.
Andrei Sator: I came back to see you and Max.
Kat: Max is onshore with Anna. We need time, just you and me, after what happened.
Andrei Sator: I was just joking. It was a stupid joke.
Kat: You think I’m a terrible mother.
Andrei Sator: We both know my opinion of you is higher than yours of me.
Kat: I want things to be better, Andrei.
[referring to the cyanide pill he’s holding]
Kat: What’s that?
Andrei Sator: I burrowed it from the CIA.
Kat: What is it?
Andrei Sator: The way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
Kat: I don’t understand.
Andrei Sator: When I take this, it’s all over.
Kat: Then don’t take it yet.
Andrei Sator: Why not?
Kat: Because we have the sunset coming, and a little Vodka left.
[as they encounter a locked gate preventing them getting to the Algorithm]
Ives: [to the protagonist] Can you pick it?
[one of Sator’s men shows up on the other side of the gate with a phone]
Andrei Sator: I hope not. I paid a lot for that lock. How do you like where my journey began and yours ends?
The Protagonist: A little radioactive for my taste.
Andrei Sator: My fate was always bound up in radiation.
Andrei Sator: I made a bargain with the devil. Money for time. We sold our future.
The Protagonist: And now you’re about to make the same mistake, for the entire world.
Andrei Sator: It wasn’t a mistake. I made the bargain I got. What was yours? You fight for a cause you barely understand, with people you trust so little you’ve told them nothing. When I die, the world dies with me. And your knowledge dies with you, buried in a tomb, like an anonymous Egyptian builder, sealed in a pyramid to keep his secret. Your faith is blind. You’re a fanatic.
The Protagonist: What’s more fanatical than trying to destroy the world?
Andrei Sator: I’m not. I’m creating a new one. Somewhere, some time, a man in crystaline tower throws a switch and armageddon is both triggered and avoided. Now time itself switches direction. The same sunshine we basked in will warm the faces of our descendants generations to come.
The Protagonist: How come they want to kill us?
Andrei Sator: Because their options rose and their rivers run dry. Don’t you see, they have no choice but to turn back.
Andrei Sator: We’re responsible. Knowing this, do you still want me to stop?
The Protagonist: Yes. Each generation looks after its own survival.
Andrei Sator: That’s exactly what they’re doing.
The Protagonist: But not you. You’re a traitor. Bring death to all because you have no life of your own left.
Andrei Sator: When I’m done, life continues.
The Protagonist: Not your son’s.
Andrei Sator: My greatest sin was to bring a son into a world I knew was ending. Do you think God will forgive me?
The Protagonist: You don’t believe in God, or the future, or anything else outside of your own experience.
Andrei Sator: The rest is belief, and I don’t have it.
The Protagonist: Without it, you’re not human. You’re just a madman.
Andrei Sator: Or a God, of sorts.
The Protagonist: Like I said.
[as he sees Sator’s man about to release the box containing the Algorithm]
The Protagonist: Don’t do it. Jesus!
Andrei Sator: Our time is up.
Andrei Sator: I’ll give your love to my wife.
The Protagonist: You’re forgetting, I haven’t met her yet.
Andrei Sator: That’s right. After you meet her, she dies. I’ll just give her my love instead.
Kat: I can’t do this. I can’t let you think you’ve won.
Andrei Sator: Don’t spoil this moment, Kat.
Kat: I’m not letting you go to your grave thinking we’re coming with you.
[she points a gun at him]
Kat: You’re dying alone, Andrei.
Kat: Look in my eyes. Which do you see? Despair or anger? I’m not the woman who can find love for you even though you scarred her on the inside. I’m the vengeful b**ch you scarred on the outside.
[she reveals her bullet wound, as Sator realizes she’s from the future, she shoots him]
[after Kat kills Andrei, dives off the boat, where she’s seen by her past self]
The Protagonist: Kat, you jumped the gun!
Kat: I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t let him die thinking he’d won. I knew you’d find a way. Wait. You found a way. We’re okay, right?
The Protagonist: Yeah. I found a way. We’re safe.
The Protagonist: I thought you were inverted.
Neil: I changed gears halfway. Looked like you needed help here.
Ives: Yeah. We needed help down there. How did you get that lock open?
The Protagonist: It wasn’t me.
The Protagonist: Didn’t your team need you?
Neil: I’ll get them on the next pass.
[as Ives takes the Algorithm and points his gun at the protagonist]
The Protagonist: No one who’s seen it leaves the field.
[Ives breaks the components of the Algorithm and tosses them to the protagonist and Neil]
Ives: We hide it. We end our lives. It’s the only way to be sure. As to when? Maybe that’s every man’s decision to make for himself.
Neil: You’re not going to kill us?
Ives: If I ever find you, I will.
Neil: You won’t look too hard.
Ives: Yes, I will.
[Ives turns and walks off]
Neil: You’re not going to go back to London to check on Kat, are you?
The Protagonist: No. It’s far too dangerous.
Neil: Even from afar?
The Protagonist: Even from afar.
Neil: Ives! Wait.
[he gives his part of the Algorithm to the protagonist]
The Protagonist: Are you really going back in?
Neil: I’m the only one who can get that door open in time, right, Ives?
Ives: Well, I don’t know any locksmiths as good as you.
Neil: See? It’s me in there again. Weaving another past in the fabric of this mission.
[after the protagonist sees the red tag on Neil’s rucksack, and realizes he’s the one who helped at the opera siege and unlock the gate earlier]
The Protagonist: Neil, wait!
Neil: Just save the world. Can’t leave anything to chance.
The Protagonist: But can we change things if we do it differently?
Neil: What’s happened happened. Which is an expression of faith in the mechanics of the world. It’s not an excuse to do nothing.
The Protagonist: Faith?
Neil: Call it what you want.
The Protagonist: What do you call it?
Neil: Reality. Now, let me go.
The Protagonist: Hey, you never did tell me who recruited you, Neil.
Neil: Haven’t you guessed by now? You did! Only not when you thought. You have a future in the past. Years ago for me. Years from now for you.
The Protagonist: You’ve known me for years?
Neil: For me, I think it’s the end of a beautiful friendship.
The Protagonist: But for me, it’s just the beginning.
Neil: And we get up to some stuff. You’re going to love it. You’ll see. This whole operation is a temporal pincer.
The Protagonist: Whose?
Neil: Yours! You’re only halfway there. I’ll see you at the beginning, friend.
[Neil gets on the chopper and leaves with Ives]
Neil: We’re the people saving the world from what might have been. The world will never know what could happen. 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.
[in London, as Priya attempts to kill Kat and the protagonist stops her]
The Protagonist: That’s your idea of mercy? You gave me your word.
Priya: And I told you then, what it would be worth. Here. Today. How did you know?
[the protagonist plays a message left by Kat]
Kat: Cannon Place, three o’clock. Probably nothing.
[at the same time we see Kat making the call to leave the same message]
The Protagonist: Posterity.
The Protagonist: I told you you’d have to start looking differently at the world.
Priya: I had to tie up the loose ends.
The Protagonist: That was never your job.
Priya: Then who’s was it?
The Protagonist: Mine. I realized I wasn’t working for you. We’ve both been working for me. I’m the protagonist.
Priya: Then you’d better tie up those loose ends.
[he shoots her]
The Protagonist: Mission accomplished.
[he then watches as Kat collects her son from school]
Neil: 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.