In April of 2019, actor Robert Pattinson teased that his upcoming collaboration with director Christopher Nolan was “the craziest thing [he’s] seen in years” and “the length of three movies.” While we anxiously await seeing Nolan’s new spy thriller Tenet for ourselves to determine if it is also the craziest thing we’ve seen in years, the latter part of Pattinson’s comment is being called into question. The Tenet runtime has just been revealed by the Korean Media Rating Board, and it turns out the film isn’t some five or six-hour behemoth after all. (Not that anyone realistically expected it to be, but still.)
Here’s how the newly-uncovered runtime compares to the other movies in Nolan’s filmography.
Perhaps Pattinson was talking about short films when he said Tenet was the length of three movies, because the Korean Media Rating Board (via The Independent) revealed that the action thriller clocks in at 149 minutes and 59 seconds, which is just a hair under two and a half hours. I suppose there’s an outside chance that the KMRB is incorrect, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume they know what they’re talking about in this instance. Wondering how a two and a half hour runtime stacks up against Nolan’s other work? Let’s break down the runtimes of his feature films (apologies to his short films Quay, Doodlebug, and Larceny) and put them in order from shortest to longest.
- Following (1998): 1 hour, 9 minutes
- Dunkirk (2017): 1 hour, 46 minutes
- Memento (1999): 1 hour, 53 minutes
- Insomnia (2002): 1 hour, 58 minutes
- The Prestige (2006): 2 hours, 10 minutes
- Batman Begins (2005): 2 hours, 20 minutes
- Inception (2010): 2 hours, 28 minutes
- Tenet (2020): 2 hours, 29 minutes
- The Dark Knight (2008): 2 hours, 32 minutes
- The Dark Knight Rises (2012): 2 hours, 44 minutes
- Interstellar (2014): 2 hours, 49 minutes
If this holds true, Tenet will be the fourth-longest movie of Nolan’s entire career. Two and a half hours seems like a nice sweet spot for him: he’s able to give the studio an event-sized blockbuster that hopefully draws in the folks who only see a handful of movies per year, and give audiences enough where they feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
Tenet stars Pattinson, John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, and more. It is Nolan’s self-proclaimed “most ambitious film” yet, and is currently slated for release in a little less than a month, supposedly arriving in theaters on August 12, 2020. It seems incredibly unlikely that that release date will hold considering that California (one of the nation’s largest movie markets) is experiencing such high coronavirus numbers at the moment, so stay tuned for a seemingly inevitable announcement about yet another delay.
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