Christopher Nolan Says You’re Not Supposed to Understand ‘Tenet’

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    I rewatched Christopher Nolan’s Tenet shortly before Oppenheimer opened in theaters and felt, somewhat strangely, that I understood the film less than the first time I saw it.

    Maybe the first time I got swept up in the overall story of a mysterious organization protecting our present from time “inverting” interlopers from the future. Seeing it again and knowing what would happen in the narrative, I was able to think more about the specifics of how the time travel aspect worked, and became a little lost in some of the details. I can‘t think of another movie that confused me more on second viewing than the first, but it sort of happened.

    According to Christopher Nolan himself, though, that’s ok. In an interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert this week, Nolan revealed that in his opinion “you’re not meant to understand everything in Tenet.”

    In fact, as he put it “It’s not all comprehensible. It’s a bit like asking if I know what happens with the spinning top at the end of Inception.”

    “Do you know what happens with the spinning top at the end of Inception?” Colbert jokingly interjected.

    “I have to have my idea about it for it to be a valid productive ambiguity,” Nolan replied. “But the point of it is it’s an ambiguity.”

    READ MORE: 10 Great Short Films By Famous Directors (Including Christopher Nolan)

    When Colbert pressed him on a specific theory he had about Tenet, Nolan replied “I don’t allow myself to comment on fan theories anymore.”

    Elsewhere in the same interview, Nolan revealed he is a “tremendous” fan of the Fast & Furious movies, which he called “a tremendous action franchise.” He revealed that he watches the films “all the time” and said flat out: “I love them.” He also said he feels no guilt about it.

    So if Christopher Nolan doesn’t feel guilty about loving Fast & Furious, you shouldn’t either. Nolan’s latest movie, Oppenheimer, makes its streaming premiere on Peacock on February 16.

    Every Christopher Nolan Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best



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