A lot has been said about Christopher Nolan’s passion for the magic of the shared cinema experience, but the director of 2020’s biggest blockbuster, TENET, doesn’t just talk the talk; from first draft to final cut he painstakingly plans and crafts every element of his films with cutting-edge cinema technology woven into the process. 

What does that mean for TENET?

This isn’t ‘just’ an exhilarating spy thriller with compelling characters and stratospherically high-stakes action, it’s a film that’s been engineered from day one to deliver a superlative viewing experience on the most state-of-the-art cinema screens around. So join us as we look at the film's 5 best scenes and how the TENET 70mm experience at ODEON Luxe Leicester Square immerses and dazzles you just as Nolan intended.


The Kiev Opera House assault

TENET sets out its stall immediately with an action sequence on an epic scale – a siege at a brutalist Kiev opera house packed with theatregoers – that introduces both John David Washington’s Protagonist and the concept of Time Inversion that sits at the heart of the film, reaching simultaneously for its end and beginning. 

Aside from Christopher Nolan’s characteristically masterful direction of the action – as a heavily armed assault team storms the opera house to secure a compromised spy – what makes the siege so spectacular is its backdrop. The opera house may not actually be in Kiev but it’s no flimsy soundstage either. Rather, it’s the Linnahall – a venue built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics in Tallinn, Estonia (part of the Soviet Union back then).

How 70mm AT ODEON makes it a next-level experience

For Nolan, the viewer’s immersion in TENET is everything. It’s why he and his Director of Photography, Hoye Van Hoytema shot this and many of the film’s most spectacular sequences using state-of-the-art, large-format IMAX film cameras.

And what’s true of experiencing the film at an IMAX screen is also true of our classic large-format 70mm print. Just like its IMAX cousin, the auteur-beloved 70mm format reproduces every last bit of detail and depth captured by Nolan’s IMAX cameras on set, meaning you see every element of the opera house siege as it was meant to be seen.

The highway heist

A highway ambush on an armoured convoy would make a phenomenal action sequence in any film, but in Christopher Nolan’s hands it becomes truly mind-blowing. His belief in the immersive power of practical stunts lead to the production persuading the people of Tallinn to let them ‘borrow’ an eight-kilometre stretch of six-lane highway in the centre of the city for two weeks of filming.

Then there was the visually jaw-dropping fact that, thanks to the film’s trippy Time Inversion, the entire sequence occurs with some vehicles running forwards through time, while others interact with them running backwards through time. And, because Nolan insists on doing everything in-camera where possible, there’s even less movie trickery at play during the heist than you could possibly imagine.

How 70mm AT ODEON makes it a next-level experience

Delivering a crisper, brighter and more stable image than a standard 35mm format, it’s no wonder that cinephiles love the experience of seeing films in a pristine 70mm print.

And because the original sequence was captured on 70mm IMAX stock, the extra detail you’ll see in each frame is striking, putting you in the middle of the white-knuckle highway ambush in a way that’ll stay with you long after Tenet ends.

The F50 catamaran race

The catamaran race between Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) and The Protagonist doesn’t just look fast, it really was. You can thank the advanced F50 foiling catamarans borrowed for the sequence. Rising up on their hydrofoils, these state-of-the-art catamarans can reach speeds of up to 50 knots (or 60mph) and you can bet Nolan and DP Hoytema were keen to push them to their limit.

“Those things are intense,” says John David Washington. “They were just high flying, and I was thinking, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But I couldn’t be timid about it, especially seeing Chris and Hoyte strapped to the middle, filming us – they were just in heaven, loving every minute. It was so much fun. Smooth sailing!”

How 70mm AT ODEON makes it a next-level experience

Nolan's commitment to filming action with the largest-format film cameras available (and from as close as possible) is total. Experiencing the catamaran race in 70mm ensures the filmmakers’ passion connects with you as directly as possible. The result is pure cinematic adrenaline.

The 747 terminal crash

TENET’s Boeing 747 crash at Oslo airport is possibly the most audacious and sensational action sequence in the history of film that owes its existence to… prudent accounting. When planning the stunt, Christopher Nolan figured that, budget-wise, he’d have to use miniatures for the explosive exterior shots then build a full-size set for interiors.

But then the production’s bean counters ran the numbers and concluded – to Nolan’s delight, we assume – that it’d actually be cheaper to buy, modify and crash a real (second-hand) Jumbo Jet into a real airport building.

How 70mm AT ODEON makes it a next-level experience

As much of Tenet was filmed on analogue IMAX film as possible – that’s some 1.6 million feet of film in case you’re wondering. That’s an impressive statistic, but surely capturing and showing movies using old-school chemical film is a bit of a nostalgic affectation in a world of exhibition-quality digital film? Not at all. The fact is, because a 70mm print contains so much more information than a standard 35mm print, the resulting image is sharp enough to make a Blu-ray blush. No, just think about how that 747 exploding looks and feels in 70mm.

The Stalsk-12 assault

Creating TENET’s climactic assault on the fictional Siberian city of Stalsk-12 was such a feat of logistics that it may well have been ‘simpler’ to wage a real war. In a defunct Californian iron-ore mine and its adjacent ghost town, existing buildings were adapted to become Stalsk-12’s apartment blocks, and new buildings were constructed from scratch. The result was the largest outdoor set in Cinema history.

Add to this, 100s of ex-military extras kitted out for war and the resulting sequence is little short of astounding: a benchmark-shattering big-screen battle quite unlike anything you’ve seen on a cinema screen before.

How 70mm AT ODEON makes it a next-level experience

The sheer scale and detail evident in the Stalsk-12 battle sequence demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible with a gorgeous print that does Christopher Nolan’s vision justice. Why would you want to miss out on the purest cinephile experience going?

Whether you’ve yet to see TENET, or are itching to see it again, you owe it yourself to experience the film of 2020 in 70mm at ODEON Luxe Leicester Square.