12 Movies To Watch If You Loved Tenet

Christopher Nolan, known for movies like "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" trilogy, has become an influential director not only for his sleek and stylish filmmaking, his groundbreaking visuals, and his movies' larger-than-life soundscapes, but also for his love of conceptual ideas like time travel, the shifting nature of reality, the transitory properties of memories, and the power of dreams. 

His latest offering, "Tenet," is no different. It's an action-packed time-travel heist flick starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Sir Kenneth Branagh, as well as Nolan favorite Sir Michael Caine. "Tenet" has everything you want from a Nolan movie: a mind-bending plot, existential questions about reality as we know it, brooding and mysterious characters, and elaborate pseudo-scientific discourse. Whether you enjoyed either the complex mechanics of the time travel in "Tenet," its thrilling heist sequences, or simply the satisfying, intricate sci-fi, here are 12 other movies to add to your watchlist.


"Looper" is a science-fiction action thriller directed by Rian Johnson that involves time travel and assassins. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, the movie was a critical and box office success. Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, an assassin who is known as a "looper," because, when his contract is up, he closes the loop by killing his old self, who's sent back in time by the crime syndicate he works for.

That's the plan, anyway. But Joe fails at closing his loop when Old Joe, played by Bruce Willis, is sent back for execution. Young Joe starts to question reality as he chases his elder counterpart, which makes for an action-packed science-fiction drama full of plot twists. Johnson has surprising takes on time travel, which any fan of "Tenet" will surely appreciate: He takes tropes from classic time travel movies, such as "Back To The Future," and turns them on their heads. The film's R-rating is also well-earned, with many violent sequences.

Blade Runner 2049

"Blade Runner 2049" is the follow-up to Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi noir "Blade Runner." The sequel, directed by Denis Villeneuve and released in 2017, follows a cop named K, played by Ryan Gosling, who has the same job as the original's Deckard (Harrison Ford): As a Blade Runner, K is tasked finding runaway replicants — robots with a human appearance who are used as slave labor — and "retiring" them, which is a nicer way to say he kills them. The film also stars Jared Leto as Niander Wallace, who owns the company responsible for producing replicants, and Silvia Hoeks as his replicant assistant, Luv. The plot revolves around a discovery made by K: A replicant may have been able to reproduce, which could change everything for both replicants and humanity.

Having seen the original "Blade Runner" is, surprisingly, not mandatory to enjoy the sequel, though it does make for a more rewarding experience. "Blade Runner 2049" makes sure to set all its moving pieces correctly, and is a very rich and complex movie, exploring transhumanism and what it means to be human. Visually, it is also stunning, thanks to Villeneuve's direction and Roger Deakins' cinematography.

See You Yesterday

"See You Yesterday" is the first feature from Spike Lee's protégé, Stefon Bristol, and mixes bright time-travel comedy with a darker examination of systemic racism and police brutality. Set in New York City, it stars Eden Duncan-Smith as CJ Walker, a young science prodigy who, along with her best friend Sebastian (Danté Crichlow), invents a time-travel device for their high school's science fair. However, before they can enjoy any funny hijinks with the device, CJ's older brother Calvin, played by Brian Vaughn Bradley Jr., is wrongfully killed by police in a hunt for a bodega robber.

CJ convinces Sebastian to go back in time to fix her brother's death, but as time-travel aficionados will know, it's not that simple — time travel has consequences. CJ is a flawed main character, with a temper and strong opinions that sometimes make her unlikeable, but she's still a strong lead, and Duncan-Smith turns in a great performance. Bristol marries the serious themes of racism and police violence with a goofy teenage sci-fi adventure with ease, making for a strong debut.

In The Shadow of the Moon

"In The Shadow of the Moon" mashes up thriller, horror, action, sci-fi, and noir into one. It's from director Jim Mickle, who's done this kind of genre mixing before in films like "We Are What We Are" and "Cold in July." "In The Shadow of the Moon" follows Philadelphia detective Thomas Lockhart (Boyd Holbrook), who is looking for the case that'll advance his career. He stumbles into the weirdest mystery just as his wife goes into labor: Unrelated people are being murdered in an unknown and mysterious way, their brains liquefied and seeping out of their eyes, ears, mouths, and noses. Lockhart soon corners a suspect, played by Cleopatra Coleman, but before he can apprehend her she's killed by the coming subway.

The movie jumps forward almost 10 years, and the killer is suddenly back from the dead. Lockhart teams up with his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Holt (Michael C. Hall), to track down the killer once and for all. While many feel that the conclusion is shoe-horned in, "In the Shadow of the Moon" features thrilling action scenes and stylish cinematography by David Lanzenberg, making for an entertaining experience.


What if every one of our decisions was already accounted for? Michael and Peter Spierig's 2014 noir sci-fi flick "Predestination" explores the concepts of free will and destiny through the story of a temporal agent played by Ethan Hawke. The movie starts with Hawke's character chasing down a bomber in 1975 New York City; he is severely burnt after the suspect's bomb explodes. Back in the future, the agent undergoes surgery for his burns, and is sent back for one last assignment, heading again to New York in the '70s, where he works as a bartender. He meets a customer, John (Sarah Snook), who writes fiction under the pen name "The Unnamed Mother." John's story — he grew up as an intersex young woman who lost a child to kidnapping and transitioned to male — spurs the agent to help.

"Predestination" is based on a short story by Robert Heinlein called "—All You Zombies—" and is a strange, but intelligent, sci-fi movie. The story takes twists and turns and features great performances by both Hawke and Snook; it also stars Noah Taylor, Madeleine West and Christopher Kirby.


Christopher Nolan loves to revisit similar ideas in his films. His 2014 sci-fi epic, "Interstellar," also plays with the idea of time, but in a different way than "Tenet" does. It is also his most emotional movie. The film stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, a pilot-turned-farmer in a dystopian future where crops aren't able to grow. Finding coordinates in his daughter's bedroom after a sandstorm, Cooper discovers a research facility that contains the remnants of NASA. A wormhole has opened near Saturn, and NASA is hoping to find habitable planets for humanity to flee to. A first mission, known as Lazarus, was dispatched to visit potentially viable planets and send reports back.

Cooper travels with a second wave of volunteers aboard a ship called the Endurance to visit the planets that were identified as potential new home worlds by Lazarus. He joins Dr. Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) and her crew, abandoning his children Tom and Murphy and hoping to make it back to Earth. Travelling into the wormhole, the crew discovers that the system is orbiting a massive black hole called Gargantua; the consequences of gravity on time and its passage are where Nolan's manipulation of time takes root. "Interstellar" is dense and complex, but explores love, humanity, and hope in stunning ways, with Nolan's usual sleek images and great storytelling.

Cloud Atlas

Based on the ambitious sci-fi novel by David Mitchell, "Cloud Atlas" was directed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski sisters, Lana and Lilly. The film spans six different time periods, ranging from 1846 to a distant, post-apocalyptic future in which humanity has receded to a primitive tribal life; it follows the idea that we're all interconnected, and that the smallest decisions can have impacts that last over multiple generations. "Cloud Atlas" boasts a star-studded cast, including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and more, all of whom appear as different characters throughout the multiple timelines.

"Cloud Atlas" is a complex movie that requires multiple viewings to truly understand its sprawling story. While it is not perfect, connecting all the dots is still very satisfying. "The Cloud Atlas" tackles lots of heavy themes, too, such as slavery, social justice, societal constructs, and what it means to be human. The directors are no strangers to science fiction and wacky timelines, and their skill shows in this epic drama.

Run Lola Run

A German indie turned movie classic, "Run Lola Run" has a bit of everything, including time loops. Directed by then-newcomer Tom Tywker and released in 1998, "Run Lola Run" follows Lola (Franka Potente), whose boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) lost a bag containing 100,000 deutsche marks on the subway. Manni is in big trouble — if he doesn't deliver the money to his boss in 20 minutes, he'll be killed.

The movie unfolds in three different ways, with Lola running around Berlin trying to find the money in time to save Manni. Lola isn't aware of the time loops; the director is mainly having fun with the idea of how small changes to the characters' decisions can alter events on a wider scale. With its animated segments and techno-punk score, "Run Lola Run" is a fun ride and a good excuse to watch some international cinema.

The Inside Man

If you enjoyed the heist elements in "Tenet," Spike Lee's 2006 thriller "Inside Man" is a great film to add to your watchlist. The film opens with Clive Owen, who plays bank robber Dalton Russel, explaining how he pulled off the perfect bank robbery. The film then takes us back to a bank on Wall Street to show us Russel's plan in action, complete with some well-trod heist movie tropes: The robbers are wearing masks and taking hostages, dressing them all in the same dark overalls. The detective in charge of dealing with the hostage situation, Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington), is quickly met with resistance not only from the robbers, but from the bank president's fixer, Madeline White (Jodie Foster), who steps in to protect her boss' secrets.

"Inside Man" was Lee's most profitable movie at the box office; with its all-star cast and classic heist movie structure, that's hardly a surprise. The three major stars are joined by other big names such as Christopher Plummer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Willem Dafoe. While this is Lee's most conventional film, it definitely delivers on the entertainment front.

The Cloverfield Paradox

The third entry in the "Cloverfield" franchise brings paranormal action to space. "The Cloverfield Paradox," directed by Julian Onah and released on Netflix in 2018, follows a crew of astronauts on a mission to a space station. The station's super collider is supposed to be a new source of energy for Earth, where all natural resources have been spent and the power grid is constantly failing. After spending almost two years on the station preparing for the collider's launch, the crew is finally ready to go. As soon as they flip the switch, things go haywire: The Earth vanishes, and an unknown woman is stuck in one of the station's walls.

It turns out that the particle accelerator had unintended consequences, and brought the space station, along with its crew, to a parallel universe where things don't work exactly like they're used to. The cast includes both established names and newcomers, featuring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl, Zhang Ziyi, Chris O'Dowd and Elizabeth Debicki, to name a few. Composer Bear McReary, who also scored "10 Cloverfield Lane," is not afraid to go big with the score for "The Cloverfield Paradox," and the production design is full of intricate details sure to delight most sci-fi fiends.


If you're looking for an action-packed thriller to watch after "Tenet," check out the Chris Hemsworth-led shooter "Extraction." Based on a graphic novel by Joe Russo and directed by Sam Hargrave, "Extraction" follows mercenary Tyler Rake as he's hired to rescue a mobster's son, Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), who has been kidnapped by a rival crime lord. Chaos ensues when it turns out that the mobster also hired Ovi's bodyguard, Saju (Randeep Hooda), to do the job. Gun fights, car chases, and fist fights are the go-to for Hargrave, who used to be a stunt performer and coordinator.

"Extraction" is a gory, violent action movie that deserves its R rating. Not only does it contain multiple shooting and chase scenes, but it also features some up close and personal physical altercations, including one in which Rake kills an opponent with the garden tool he's named after. "Extraction" isn't all gore, though, as Rake also battles some personal demons following the death of his own son; rescuing Ovi is his shot at some sort of redemption.

Total Recall

A remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1990 sci-fi film, "Total Recall" puts Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston in a dystopian world where chemical war has ravaged the Earth. Directed by Len Wiseman and released in 2012, "Total Recall" follows Douglas Quaid (Farrell), an assembly-line worker married to Lori (Beckinsale) who has vivid dreams featuring action scenes with an unknown woman (Biel). He decides to visit Rekall, a company that offers to implant memories, and chooses to have a spy adventure put in his head as a sort of mental vacation.

Something goes wrong with the process, and Quaid finds himself in the midst of an actual undercover spy situation; after taking down the special forces sent after him and fleeing from his wife, who is also a spy, Quaid teams up with the soldier from his dreams, Melina, to work for a resistance organization bent on taking down the corrupt government. The movie is an entertaining ride and it's fun to decipher what is real and what is not. It also features great action scenes and spectacular sci-fi city landscapes.