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Guiding principle: Trailer for Christopher Nolan movie arrives minus unlock date

John David Washington with Elizabeth Debicki in TenetImage copyright
Warner Bros

Image caption

John David Washington stars in Tenet alongside Elizabeth Debicki (seated)

A second trailer for Christopher Nolan’s mysterious new film Tenet has been released, giving more clues about its complex time travel narrative.

Unlike the teaser trailer released in December, however, the new promo does not end with confirmation of the film’s scheduled 17 July release date.

The trailer instead merely states it will be “coming to theaters” [sic].

The three-minute trailer was launched on popular video game Fortnite before being made available elsewhere.

Cinemas around the world are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and it is unclear when they will reopen.

Earlier this month the CEO of the Vue chain expressed hopes it will be able to reopen its cinemas in July.

The Showcase cinemas chain said it was also “working towards” welcoming back customers at the beginning of that month.

According to Fortnite publisher Epic Games, the idea to launch the trailer in the game “came from a phone call with Christopher Nolan”.

“We were all talking about our love of seeing new trailers in a THEATER and how sad we were that we can’t do that right now – but how maybe this could be the next best thing,” tweeted its creative director Donald Mustard.

It has also been announced that one of Nolan’s previous feature films will be screened inside the game later this year.

The British director’s other films include Inception, Interstellar and the Oscar-winning World War II film Dunkirk.

He also directed the three films in the so-called Dark Knight trilogy – Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

According to Tenet’s distributor Warner Bros, his new film is “an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage”.

Its stars include John David Washington from Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Twilight’s Robert Pattinson and Sir Kenneth Branagh.

According to the new trailer, Sir Kenneth – who also appeared in Dunkirk – plays a “Russian national” who can “communicate with the future”.

The trailer sees a character use the word “inversion” alongside scenes in which events appear to play out in reverse.

The trailer features a car chase in which vehicles move both backwards and forwards, close-combat fights and shots of a plane crashing into a hangar.

“This reversing of the flow of time,” Washington’s character is heard saying. “Doesn’t us being here now mean it never happened?”

Image copyright
Warner Bros

Image caption

Characters are seen using transparent breathing devices

Reaction on Twitter has been broadly positive, with users variously describing it as “stunning“, “so good” and “iconic“.

“This is Christopher Nolan’s world and we’re just living in it,” tweeted another impressed commentator.

Tenet’s own Twitter page states categorically that the film will be “coming to theaters” on 17 July.

That will be reassuring to cinema operators following the decision of some distributors to bypass theatrical distribution and release their films directly online.

Universal released Trolls World Tour online in April, while Sir Kenneth’s film version of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl novel will premiere on the Disney+ streaming service next month.

Before the coronavirus crisis caused cinemas and other entertainment venues to close their doors, the films had been scheduled to open theatrically in April and May respectively.

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