WARNING: This article contains some spoilers for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’.
If you’ve already made it to the cinema to watch Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, then you may have already started searching like mad for any morsel of information that explains everything you just sat through.
Full of action, time play, and a try-to-keep-up mystery, Tenet is ridiculously complex — so we don’t blame you if you’re looking for an explanation.
Even if you’ve figured out how time inversion works there are some mind-bending hidden meanings that Nolan has spread throughout the film.
Tenet Hidden Meaning
The Independent explained inversion best. During the film, “you are unable to jump to a specific point in time. If you want to travel back to 40 years ago, you have to live those 40 years in reverse.”
With that in mind, the most inconspicuous easter egg is concealed within the film’s name, Tenet — which also happens to be the name of the secret organisation which is fighting the temporal war against the future to stop WWIII. During the film, we also see the word being used to open the right (and wrong) doors for the protagonist (John David Washington).
So, where’s the hidden meaning? Well, if you look at the word Tenet, it is literally ten forward, and ten back. Te-n-eT.
The Sator Square Palindrome
Here’s one that you might get after you’ve seen the film five more times at the cinema.
The Sator Square is a real word square containing a five-word palindrome. Nolan used this square for each plot point.
ROTAS – The security company at Oslo and the rotation of the turnstiles.
OPERA – The opening siege.
TENET – The name of the film and organisation within it.
AREPO – Thomas Arepo who forged the Goya Painting in the film.
SATOR – Leid character and villain, Andrei Sartor (Kenneth Branagh).
If you need to check out Tenet again, or you read this before watching the first time, catch Tenet in cinemas now (tickets are on sale at HOYTS).
The only way to experience it is on the big screen with the best sound in HOYTS Xtremescreen, or upgrade your cinema experience to HOYTS LUX.