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Tenet: your questions my answer [part 1]: the science | tenet (2020) |film analysis

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Today i’m going to be answering your questions about tenet

My research and the effort that my editor and i put in, has helped you understand the film a bit better that said. It’s time to go back in so drop that inverted bullet and hear me out

Many of you commented how the watch in my example would not start ticking backwards once i go inverted once i use the machine.

There were quite a few questions regarding the turnstiles.

 Q. How were the turn styles sent from the future to the past?

A. The answer to that is that they probably weren’t. As i speculated in my explanation, it’s probably that the instructions on how to build the turnstiles were sent back from the future to the past to Sator.

Q. When Sator takes Kat through the turnstile wouldn’t you also become inverted?

A. So Sator does not take Kat through the turnstile. Both the protagonist and the bad guys and Sator with Kat go through the doors that lead to and from the outside. And you can see how both of them have to go through their respective airlocks, as the oxygen changes on the inverted side. Because the oxygen changes we can see that Kat is wearing a mask for that scene. Technically anyone can walk into either side but they need to have oxygen respective to if they are inverted or not. The turnstile is the bit right at the back of both of those rooms that cross over both sides. It’s the big revolving door but that is not where they enter from during that scene.

Q. How is the amount of time to be reversed controlled the process of inversion happens in real time. So you are not jumping to a specific time you can’t choose?

A. It is not like back to the future when you pick a date and a time and you just pop into existence at that specific time. When you invert you have to live through the time backwards to reach the bit that you want to reach. Leading on from this how do our inverted heroes travel for days or weeks?

So the film implies that you can travel inverted for however long you want as long as you have a supply of oxygen. When they’re in that big yellow container they don’t have to wear masks. So the assumption is that they have a supply of oxygen within that container. But when they’re out on the boat when the protagonist is doing pull-ups and when ivies and him are talking on the deck they are wearing masks.

Q. If the protagonist saw himself come out of the inverter and fought him, then carried on to the point where he has to go back to that inverted and fight his earlier self, then that means his earlier self is continuing forward to loop back again, wouldn’t it be a never ending loop?

A. No it wouldn’t. If you look back at my illustration on how the turnstile machines work then the loop will end once your past self enters the machine and will disappear. Another way to think about it is that the turnstile machines are where loops are created and ended. With that in mind let me address the questions relating to multiple timelines and time travel.

This is one of the most heated debates. There are many people that insist that time inversion must be time travel. There are multiple versions of you living multiple different lives on different timelines.

That is in my example there is a version of me who missed the flight and a version of me who made the flight living separately. Within the film there is a version of Neil who dies and a version of Neil that goes on to meet the protagonist. The same with Sator there is one who dies in the Vietnam trip and one that goes on to experience the rest of the film’s events except. None of that is correct it is not clearly shown in the film. But the principles of time inversion imply that the only important version of yourself is the most recent one. It’s in that one that your consciousness exists. So the me who made the flight is the same me that previously had missed it.

I think the term time travel in itself is the root of much of the confusion and debate. Physically traveling from point A to point B can you know mean many different things? It can be linear you get into a train travel for one hour and then you’re somewhere else or it can be traveling between years such as in back to the future. You loop a button and you’re there.

However within the context of this film maybe it’s a film in which there is time travel but it is a closed loop system. Such as is the case with the predestination and bootstrap paradoxes both of which are very interesting things to research if you fancy. The turn style machine enables you to create a loop in your timeline. So you invert stay inverted for a period of time and then un-invert and go back to normal.

I said that there would be three instances of yourself. Within those 30 minutes and this is true but for that first original version of yourself. There would be you the version of you, you see exiting through the proving window which is the term they use in the film the one who will eventually come into the machine and on invert.

However once you’ve completed the journey the closing of the loop will be indicated by you seeing your past self-go into the machine to invert. But you won’t see another u reverse exiting through the proving window. That is when the loop is closed.

This is what ivies alludes to when they first go into the machine to save Kat he says that if you do not see yourself in the proving window then you aren’t getting out. This is where things get super complicated. And the concept of time inversion threatens to actually be one in which there are multiple realities and timelines. For it to be a closed loop system you have to see yourself reverse exit through the proving window, otherwise it would indicate that you are the version of yourself that will disappear and close the loop. You cease to exist but you’d be conscious of it. The fact that ivies even mentions this shows that the characters within the film aren’t sure whether there can be multiple versions of you with their own consciousness. The reason i am so adamant that it can’t be a multiple reality system with multiple versions of yourself running around is based on the requirement that there can be only one version of you with your consciousness. Because it is not a cloning machine.

To answer your questions more succinctly based on this one line from ivies the existence of multiple realities is not ruled out within the tenet universe. It is actively avoided and shut down when mentioned. An example of this is when the protagonist asks Priya to tell his past self about the algorithm so Sator doesn’t get it and Kat doesn’t get shot. But she refuses and multiple times within the film there are characters saying what has happened has happened. No one actively tries to change the past but no one seems interested in it, because it breaks the rules of the closed loop time travel system that the whole film leans on.

I was very frustrated at the scene with Clement’s poesy and the wall of bullets. So thank you to everyone who offered an explanation to help me sleep at night. In terms of the protagonist picking up a bullet as in willing it to come into his hand i accept your explanations. Once he decides to drop it, it comes back into his hand. From the bullet’s perspective it is being dropped but from the non-inverted eye it looks like he is willing it into his palm. It makes enough sense now.

In terms of the gun it seems the general consensus is that the gun has to be inverted too because it is part of the shooting process.

In terms of picking up the bullet there is no middleman. When you shoot a bullet there is it’s the gun. So when Washington is shooting the gun, he should be wearing gloves for it to be inverted. But he isn’t.

If there was a bullet in that gun when he asks then it would have fired just like a normal gun. Interestingly, later on when he goes back to the wall we see him wearing a single glove when shooting the gun. So should the gun be inverted should he be wearing two gloves to touch it. Is it just a genuine mistake? Maybe!

Q. What about the laws of gravity? Gravity being something that affects the whole world. It seems that this bullet is defying the laws of gravity in order to make it back to the protagonist’s hand. Entropy is one thing the bullet can get hotter rather than colder over time. But it seems like its effect on the surroundings must also include affecting gravity in order to work. But how can this effect be contained in so small radius?

A. This is a really good point and i don’t have the answer.

Q. How the body is affected when inverted they need oxygen. They’ve made that clear. But how do other bodily functions function and the biggest question was do you get younger when inverted?

A. Let’s first look at the information we get on the topic of oxygen when wheeler briefs the inverted protagonist before he goes out into the non-inverted world, she says that he will need air because regular air won’t pass through the membranes of inverted lungs. This is likely to do with the gas exchange that occurs within the body so that the lungs can absorb oxygen. Entropy seeks to find order by distributing energy between two things. So the reason you’d start choking when inverted is because rather than absorbing the oxygen your lungs are dumping them. It’s going through the membrane the wrong way. That said how having your own oxygen fixes this. Surely if the basic function of your membranes is changed then you are still not absorbing the oxygen.

It not being regular oxygen that the inverted people are being given but inverted oxygen which is different. I don’t know how but its entropy must have been changed in order to trick the body into absorbing it.

Q. So what about the other bodily functions?

A. Well considering almost everything, in your body relies on oxygen to work then if this inverted oxygen fixes the issue for your lungs presumably the rest of your body would be functioning correctly as well. This would also mean that you do not de-age if anything you would die from choking long before your cells had the chance to de-age. They simply cannot function without the correct oxygen whilst inverted.

Q. How about our eyes unlike other parts of our bodies?

A. They don’t have as many blood vessels and some of their oxygen supply is absorbed directly through the corneas. This would mean that when inverted you are actually running on a depleted supply of oxygen and this is a condition called corneal hypoxia. The symptoms include excessive tearing, burning, a scratchy feeling and blurred vision. Mild cases can lead to swelling whilst severe hypoxia can lead to blindness.

Wheeler says to the protagonist you may experience distortions of your vision and hearing. This line is probably an attempt at addressing an issue like corneal hypoxia. But we never see any visual distortion on screen nor do any of the characters seem to be experiencing anything as severe as the symptoms i have described.

Sure when they’re in the yellow container there is oxygen all around them so they would be having no issues. But in terms of running around with those nose and mouth masks they should definitely be having problems with their vision. However it seems like it’s a case of story first science later.

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