Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.


Christopher Nolan
29 ( 3)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 38 wins & 132 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Juhan Ulfsak ... Passenger
Jefferson Hall ... Well-Dressed Man
Ivo Uukkivi Ivo Uukkivi ... Uniformed Official
Andrew Howard ... Driver
John David Washington ... Protagonist
Rich Ceraulo Ko ... SWAT / Target
Jonathan Camp ... SWAT 2
Wes Chatham ... SWAT 3
Sander Rebane Sander Rebane ... Ukrainian SWAT
Martin Donovan ... Fay
Clémence Poésy ... Barbara
Josh Stewart ... Male Voice (voice)
Robert Pattinson ... Neil
Dimple Kapadia ... Priya
Denzil Smith ... Sanjay


In a twilight world of international espionage, an unnamed CIA operative, known as The Protagonist, is recruited by a mysterious organization called Tenet to participate in a global assignment that unfolds beyond real time. The mission: prevent Andrei Sator, a renegade Russian oligarch with precognition abilities, from starting World War III. The Protagonist will soon master the art of "time inversion" as a way of countering the threat that is to come. Written by jesusblack-91294

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Time Runs Out

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some suggestive references and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Utilized no green screens, just practical effects. This includes the inversion sequences, for which director Christopher Nolan chose instead to shoot every scene twice: one time with the actors moving forward, and once with them doing everything backwards. See more »


(at around 1h 19 mins) In the highway chase, the BMW going forward should easily outrun the Audi SUV going in reverse. The gearing in reverse will top out at a fairly low speed like 30mph (equivalent to 1st gear going forward). However, the Audi SUV actually drove forward in inverse time and only looks like it is driving backward in real time. See more »


The Protagonist: [cocks gun] I'm not the man they send in to negotiate, or the man they send to make deals. But I am the man people talk to.
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Crazy Credits

This film debuts a new Warner Brothers logo. See more »

Alternate Versions

The British Warner Bros. subsidiary removed 9 seconds of footage (showing Sator kicking Kat during a fight) from the theatrical version to secure a "12A" rating (an uncut "15" was available). This version was later released on home video in the UK. See more »


Referenced in Sky News at 9: Episode dated 3 September 2020 (2020) See more »


The Plan
Written by Travis Scott (as Jacques Webster), Wonda Gurl (as Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde) and Ludwig Göransson
Performed by Travis Scott
Produced by Ludwig Göransson and Wonda Gurl
Travis Scott appears courtesy of Cactus Jack/Epic Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
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User Reviews

Be patient
12 September 2020 | by brandoncjenkinsSee all my reviews

If you are expecting the adrenaline you got with Inception, look no further. If you are looking to be able to follow this film on the first viewing like you did with Inception, maybe not so much. I would put this film one level higher in complexity than Inception, as Inception was complex but pretty intuitive. This film CAN be intuitive, but unless you want to wait for the Blu Ray, you're going to have to shell out to see it multiple times to actually get a better understanding of the plot's finer points. A more logistical thing to comment on: it seems the audio mix is lacking. I originally thought it was my theater (voices seem to carry too much bass, making them hard to understand; however, Studio Movie Grill plays this film very, very loud, which I love because it makes the gunfire far more realistic), but others have complained about this as well. I am hoping that the blu ray will be remastered so that this is not an issue. With all this being said, be patient. This film is great and I have a strong feeling you will not be disappointed. It is classic Nolan doing what he does best. It is intricate, spares no expense, and it is by no means lazy. Once the BR comes out, it may actually turn into one his his best so far.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

3 September 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Merry-Go-Round See more »

Filming Locations:

Linnahall, Tallinn, Estonia See more »


Box Office


$205,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,353,090, 6 September 2020

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros., Syncopy See more »
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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.43 : 1
See full technical specs »

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