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John David Washington in Tenet

Christopher Nolan excels at a lot of things, but perhaps the one thing he does best is confuse and make his audience ask questions. As it so happens, it looks like he’s at it again with Tenet, his new mysterious spy thriller starring John David Washington. The marketing campaign thus far has been filled with riddles, and now a new image is leaving us with even more questions.

In a recent post on their Twitter page, Tenet released a new image of John David Washington dressed in a suit and holding a gun with a silencer standing in front of another, similarly dressed John David Washington wearing a respirator that’s walking behind him. It’s curious to say the least. Check it out:

First, let’s talk the obvious. There’s two versions of John David Washington in the image, one looking like he’s walking forward in time and the other walking backward. This likely points to the concept of “inversion” that’s mentioned in the trailer.

But, they aren’t identical copies of John David Washington. The version walking behind the first has a respirator on and is standing a little differently to the side. Assuming this isn't just some playful Photoshop, my questions would be: why does he need a respirator, and why would he be slightly different than the John David Washington moving forward in time?

Christopher Nolan has a history of playing with the concepts of time in his past movies. Memento is a movie told in reverse order; Dunkirk has a unique non-linear structure; with Inception he slowed down time in dreams; and in Interstellar he played with time relativity and how people can experience time differently.

While it might be easy to assume Tenet deals with time travel, Christopher Nolan has come out shooting that theory down. Instead, he said it deals with different ways that time functions. In this case, it’s time running backward relative to us. Perhaps, with that in mind, this new image is not two versions of John David Washington, but John David Washington moving through time in different directions? Still, it doesn’t explain why he would have a respirator.

Another side observation is the image’s Dutch angle. Dutch angles are typically used to communicate uneasiness, anxiety, confusion, and crooked characters. Maybe in this case, it’s being used to indicate inversion has royally screwed up the world in Tenet.

Unfortunately for Christopher Nolan fans eager to get answers to all their questions, Tenet continues to be delayed due to on-going world events. While Christopher Nolan would have preferred his film premiere in theaters on its originally scheduled date, Warner Bros. has moved it, an issue the studio and director have reportedly disagreed about.

As of right now, Tenet is scheduled to release on August 12, but in this unpredictable climate anything can really happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if the date continues to be pushed back. What questions do you have about Tenet? Let us know in the comments!

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