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Look at me! And understand, you don't negotiate with a tiger. You admire a tiger until he turns on you and you feel its true f***ing nature!
~ Andrei Sator to Kat.
You fight for a cause you barely understand. With people you trust so little you've told them nothing about what you’re doing. When I die, the world dies with me. And your knowledge dies with you. Buried in the tomb like an anonymous Egyptian builder sealed in the pyramid to keep his secret.
~ Andrei Sator to The Protagonist.
Andrei Sator (Russian: Андрей Сатор) is the main antagonist of Christopher Nolan's 2020 science fiction action film Tenet.
He was a Russian oligarch used by future generations to help reassemble the Algorithm, a weapon created in the future to reverse the entropy of the entire world, in the hopes of reversing the effects of climate change.
Andrei Sator is a man with ambition and vision, having little not going his way and never not getting what he wants. This is most prominent with his wife Katherine "Kat" Barton, who he met at an auction. Believing that if he cannot have her no one else can, Sator is extremely controlling of what she does, forcing her to stay away from their son Max through his hold of a forged painting Kat sold him.
Sator was born in Stalsk-12, a Soviet-era closed city. He worked in radiation for years and found his first contract with the future in a time capsule. He killed his partner and started to work for the future as their broker in exchange for gold bars. At some point he became owner of Rotas Industries and became a wealthy oligarch by making billions in gas. He married Katherine Barton and had a child with her. He later had a falling-out with Moscow, started to live in London and developed connections with various governments and intelligence agencies. He also got an advanced super yacht.
Soon into their relationship, Andrei became very controlling and abusive towards Katherine, and kept her under his thumb in spite of her clear disdain for him through threats of driving their son away from her. This was a spiteful response to her accidentally selling him a forged painting.
A few years before the film's events, Andrei and Kat took a holiday in Vietnam, and he claimed this to be one of his more pleasant memories as well as the only time he felt like she genuinely liked him.
He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer around this time as well and decided to take down the world with him by using and triggering the Algorithm upon his pre-determined death.
The Protagonist is made aware of Sator's presence when Indian arms dealer Priya Singh informs him that some of her inverted bullets were bought out by him. In response, the Protagonist tries to get to him through Kat, eventually convincing her by promising to get the drawing and free her and her son from Andrei's control.
After being invited by Kat on a weekend away to the Amalfi Coast, the Protagonist is finally introduced to Sator and manages to gain his trust after saving him from drowning after Kat deliberately tried to murder him by knocking him off of a boat. He poses as a mercenary to Sator and claims to be wanting to help him retrieve a case of plutonium for him. Following this, Sator heads back to his bedroom before berating Kat and throwing a pillow towards her, getting into a heated argument over what had happened on the boat, though he eventually relents and leaves. He heads down to the lower floors and the Protagonist manages to blow his cover when he snoops around and catches Sator beating one of his henchmen to death with a bar of gold. This leads to Sator interrogating him but eventually becoming seemingly satisfied with his story, still trusting him to retrieve the substance.
The following day, the Protagonist and his ally Neil storm a base in order to steal the plutonium and Sator takes Kat with him to a secure location before once again barking abuse at her. She pulls a gun at his head, tired of the torture he's given her but he doesn't even flinch, knowing she won't shoot him. When she inevitably backs down, an enraged Sator beats her to a pulp before tying her up and taking her into his car to use as leverage against the Protagonist, knowing all along he wasn't actually trying to help him. He manages to get a fake case from the Protagonist with the threat of Kat's life in mind but leaves her inside of the car. In spite of Neil's protests, the Protagonist dives in after her and manages to get himself injured in the process.
Sator takes Kat while his henchmen take the Protagonist. Sator heads into an inverted room where he tries once again to interrogate the Protagonist, even shooting Kat in order to try and break him, in spite of his numerous pleas of not knowing where they actually hid the plutonium. He prepares to deliver the final blow, but all of a sudden, several Tenet operatives led by Ives arrive to the Protagonist's aid, forcing Sator to flee and abandon his dying wife, as both he and his inverted self go through the turnstile, mysteriously disappearing into the future in the process.
The Protagonist tries to follow him but finds himself accidentally ending up in a car crash instead with Sator lighting him on fire before fleeing. The Protagonist, Neil and the Tenet operatives manage to keep Kat stable while they keep traveling back in time in the goal of stopping Sator's plan. Eventually, they find themselves back on the Vietnam trip where the operatives make their way towards disabling Sator's equipment while Kat herself confronts her husband disguised as her past self.
She eventually gives up the act, however, after hearing Andrei plead with her in a manner obviously fabricated and holds him at gunpoint. Unfazed, he begins taunting her over her inability to kill before lunging towards her; unfortunately for Sator, however, Kat succeeds in shooting him through the chest, puncturing his lung. Kat drags and disposes of his body by sliding it off the yacht. On the fall down, his body hits a railing, killing him before he lands in the water.
This is the third Russian character in a Christopher Nolan movie, after The Chechen and Dr. Leonid Pavel.
His family name "Sator" is a explicit reference to the Sator Square. Also qualified as a literal magic square, it was found in Pompeii in 1936. It is an anacyclic phraseomorphic construction with a quadruple entry: it is therefore a sentence which has a meaning read upside down, but also upside down. This graffiti is none other than a palindrome, which, arranged in the form of a square, becomes a "perfect palindrome": it can be read right to left as well as from left to right, but also from top to bottom, or from bottom to top.