Touted as the (first of many) films to save theatres from their current state, Tenet was not the critical and commercial darling many had expected it to be. It was an ambitious but emotionally inert film, but it still has a multitude of delights.
From Christopher Nolan's reliable direction, to the sheer inventiveness of the inverted setpieces, Tenet still aimed higher than many of its blockbuster peers. As par the course for a Nolan film, it is extremely unlikely that all its narrative, sonic and visual... tenets were revealed on a first viewing.
Some details were a bit easy to pick on first viewing, such as Kat's son Max having a similar haircut to Neil's, but others were more obscure. Despite their cryptic nature, these details play a key role in fleshing out character motivations, plot points and the mechanics of the now infamous inversion so commonly used in the film.
In addition to expanding the narrative, the details act as references to other Nolan films and entries in various media such as film and music. They go a long way in reinforcing why Nolan has one of the more unique voices in big budget fare.
10. Palindromic Pullups
Due to Tenet's unconventional pacing and heady concept, it is easy to miss most of its details and some of them are more significant to the plot than expected. This is well exemplified by the Protagonist's brief stay at an offshore wind farm after his failed mission at the Kyiv Opera House.
The audience gets a peek into his daily routine that includes activities such as weapons inspection as well as physical exercise, specifically pull-ups. Later on in the film, the hero does the exercise again just before he and Ives' team are preparing for their temporal pincer movement on Sator's army.
At first glance, the pull-ups seemingly do little for plot or character development. However, upon multiple rewatches, it is revealed that the Protagonist does both sets at the same time due to his future self having being inverted. Furthermore, the second set takes place on a boat that is sailing near the wind farm.
This is an interesting visual detail caught by a few places dedicated to movie details that fleshes out the film's narrative and in addition to this, a pull-up is a palindromic movement (similar to how the word Tenet itself is a palindrome) and easily fits in the film's use of inversion.