One of the craziest parts of 2020 is that Tenet actually came out and played in theaters. I saw it at a drive-in and still have questions about what happened. Since it's not readily available to see again, I decided to sit down with the Tenet screenplay to see if I could answer my own questions.
Then I realized that I bet all of No Film School would want to read and learn from Christopher Nolan's script. So...
Lessons from the Tenet script
This was a hard article to write because I am not sure what younger or newer writers can glean from Nolan's story. This was obviously writing by an experienced storyteller who had a clear vision for how the movie would look, and knew the movie would be made.
Still, Nolan's writing is sparse, easy to read on the page, and written in such a way that all the action is clear. I love how it's not afraid to go incredibly big. From crashing a plane to various scenes on yachts and sprawling military battles.
What other lessons can we glean?
I think the best one is just perseverance.
Writer and director Christopher Nolan conceived the ideas behind Tenet over the course of 20 years, but began working on the script in 2014. The story was complex, and he kept going back and forth on it. He talked to theoretical physicists for research and just kept at it.
It also has a very clever title that lends itself to the actual plot. The title is a palindrome, reading the same backward as forward.
I know this is not a sprawling lesson recap, but I think this is just a great script to read and feel the rhythm of how a writer gives you details to solve the story yourself.
So, go off and enjoy it!
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