TENET Opening Explained: Opera Scene And Train Yard Breakdown. We recap and explain all the things you missed in the introduction of Christopher Nolan's Tenet (2020) to outline what is really happening and how it sets up the rest of the movie.
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Ok so due to the timey wimey wibbly wobbly nature of Tenet the opening is arguably one of the most confuddling things ever put to film. Who is The Protagonist working for, why do the SWAT team members turn on him? What happens to the algorithm and what the hell is everyone saying?
Well we're gonna be breaking it all down and answering some of the big questions to clear up any confusion.
If this is your first time here then welcome back to the Heavy Spoilers I'm your host Paul (reversed) now let's get into the breakdown.
Ok so whilst I normally tend to do Ending Explaineds, because of Tenet's plot structure and time manipulation, I think it's actually fitting that this is the first film that I break down the opening of.
Throughout the movie we're told that ignorance is a weapon and at almost every major plot point in the movie, The Protagonist has absolutely no idea what's going on.
This is very much the case with the audience too and Nolan purposely drops us in at the deep end so that like the lead, we have little to no idea what's going on. Now up top this is happening at the exact same moment that the mission at Stalsk-12 is and across the timeline a version of both Neil and The Protagonist are storming Sator's forces in order to get an already completed algorithm.
However here the characters have not lived through that moment and are thus having to help it be collected so that Sator can assemble it in order for them to steal and then seperate it at Stalsk-12.
If we look at the Neil we meet at this point he saves the Protagonists life, meets him in India and the two then go through the airport scene, highway chase and invert in order to go back to this point in time so that they can stop the Algorithm from being dumped. The movie itself is a Palindrome and the moment that it opens at is also the place that it's final action scene takes place.
Now Neil is aware of his mission from the off whereas The Protagonist that we follow is not. He is currently working for the CIA and was tipped off that there would be an attack at the Opera house which would allow him and his team to slip in and make contact with Ukrainian high official known as The Well Dressed Man.
Before the real SWAT Team even arrive, both The Protagonist's forces and one half of Sator's wait in a van for them to show up so that the former team can slip in and meet this contact in order to get the package. The CIA are actually being duplicitous here and they plan to work with Sators men but double cross them in order to get the well dressed man so that they can gain intel from him.
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