Christopher Nolan - Appreciation Thread

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  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 7,955
    I think that depends. If the dialogue is inconsequential enough that we're still able to understand what's happening during a scene then I can understand the reasoning behind the sound mix. I think it worked better for the most part in INTERSTELLAR where characters would just be spouting launch/landing protocols that don't really mean much (though there is the infamous Michael Caine scene).

    With TENET there's long stretches of vital dialogue concerning plot mechanics, but then the bass heavy music and sound f/x are cranked up high.

    I do believe Nolan intentions with sound mixing is interesting in theory, I just don't think he's pulling it off well. If he does do Bond, just stick to the more conventional sound mixing he did back in the 2000s. I can't imagine improving BATMAN BEGINS by making Batman's dialogue more unintelligibly muffled.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe The long road ahead
    Posts: 7,848
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I don’t think it would be much of a loss for Bond if Nolan doesn’t direct a film. His abysmal handling of sound mixing is enough for me to reject him from making one.

    That is strange, isn't it? Why would Nolan and/or his sound mixer opt for this? I've heard interesting attempts at explaining it, one of which is that he doesn't want us to pay too much attention to dialogue and let the story tell itself in a visual manner instead. I'm not sure I'm buying that explanation, though, because why have any dialogue at all in that case? He might as well get really experimental then and produce a 'silent' movie.

    Nah, I'm still clueless as to why the sound mixing is "off". It's detrimental to our experience.

    It's funny how, on one hand, they wouldn't want us focusing too heavily on the dialogue, yet on the other, they pack so many sequences full of exposition and repeated details.

    The one line in the film really stood out to me in this regard: "don't try to understand it - feel it." It's one actor essentially speaking to the audience, asking them not to think too heavily on a plot that obviously demands you overthink how it all works and operates. Crazy.

    That's the point - to feel it. Nolan has the explanation for context, but at its core he makes his films experiential in nature. You don't have to understand all the space lingo in Interstellar to have an experience watching it, likewise you don't need a detailed history of Dunkirk to want the soldiers to make it out alive.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,176
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I don’t think it would be much of a loss for Bond if Nolan doesn’t direct a film. His abysmal handling of sound mixing is enough for me to reject him from making one.

    That is strange, isn't it? Why would Nolan and/or his sound mixer opt for this? I've heard interesting attempts at explaining it, one of which is that he doesn't want us to pay too much attention to dialogue and let the story tell itself in a visual manner instead. I'm not sure I'm buying that explanation, though, because why have any dialogue at all in that case? He might as well get really experimental then and produce a 'silent' movie.

    Nah, I'm still clueless as to why the sound mixing is "off". It's detrimental to our experience.

    It's funny how, on one hand, they wouldn't want us focusing too heavily on the dialogue, yet on the other, they pack so many sequences full of exposition and repeated details.

    The one line in the film really stood out to me in this regard: "don't try to understand it - feel it." It's one actor essentially speaking to the audience, asking them not to think too heavily on a plot that obviously demands you overthink how it all works and operates. Crazy.

    That's the point - to feel it. Nolan has the explanation for context, but at its core he makes his films experiential in nature. You don't have to understand all the space lingo in Interstellar to have an experience watching it, likewise you don't need a detailed history of Dunkirk to want the soldiers to make it out alive.

    And yet they pack so much exposition into so many sequences, sometimes one after the other (like that bit where they're traveling in that cargo container. The scene seems to cut and segue several times, only to arrive at yet another moment packed with dialogue and seemingly vital details).
  • ResurrectionResurrection Kolkata, India
    Posts: 2,541
    Although i liked overall plot of the film but problem with Nolan's film's which Tenet has as well, a plot that literally tells you to try not to understand it. It seemed to be confusing to mask the fact that it's not very clever, mostly pretentious. I felt confused and frustrated in my first viewing, most of the dialogue is unintelligible.
  • Posts: 7,492
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    I don’t think it would be much of a loss for Bond if Nolan doesn’t direct a film. His abysmal handling of sound mixing is enough for me to reject him from making one.

    That is strange, isn't it? Why would Nolan and/or his sound mixer opt for this? I've heard interesting attempts at explaining it, one of which is that he doesn't want us to pay too much attention to dialogue and let the story tell itself in a visual manner instead. I'm not sure I'm buying that explanation, though, because why have any dialogue at all in that case? He might as well get really experimental then and produce a 'silent' movie.

    Nah, I'm still clueless as to why the sound mixing is "off". It's detrimental to our experience.

    If you want the "camera to tell the story" then don't create such a convoluted plot dependent on so much exposition then...
  • Posts: 724
    Can we talk about the look of the film? It’s unabashedly ugly. I feel like aside from Dunkirk, his collaboration with Hoyte Hoytema has not worked out very well. All the time I was looking at Tenet’s cinematography, I was consciously missing Wally Pfister. I feel that he had a glamorous eye that balanced out Nolan’s more muted sensibilities. Look how good Inception looked.
  • MalloryMallory Do mosquitoes have friends?
    Posts: 2,024
    @Benjamin_Weekly69 I’m not sure I can agree with that, I just watched the movie in 4k UHD Blu-ray and the picture was phenomenal, even more so the IMAX shot and framed sequences.

    As for the sound mix , an educated guess would be that the movie was finished during lockdown and wfh, and so the sound mix wasn't adequately and rigorously tested in actual cinemas. They made what sounded good on (probably industry grade) equipment at home and that didnt quite translate into a cinema experience. Thats just a guess though on my part.
  • matt_umatt_u better known as Mr. Roark
    edited December 2020 Posts: 4,343
    As long as he keeps making his “pioneer” stuff far away from Bond then I’m fine with Nolan. Anyway, he desperately needs a writer. Desperately.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 5,858
    matt_u wrote: »
    As long as he keeps making his “pioneer” stuff far away from Bond then I’m fine with Nolan. Anyway, he desperately needs a writer. Desperately.

    +1
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  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    edited January 2021 Posts: 4,043
    Tenet 2020

    As someone who owns the majority of Nolan's back cat on Blu-ray & 4K UHD Blu-ray, I think I can say this as I'm not a hater of his stuff, although I really don't like Interstellar, I thought Dunkirk was amazing.

    Though Tenet shows that Mr Nolan finally travelled up his own backside, Tenet is 2.5 hours of underdeveloped nonsense.

    The inversion element isn't fully developed enough to work then he hangs it on this cliched Russian villain bog standard ticking time bomb plot. The villains motivation for his actions, seriously and some of you want him for Bond, no not on the back this you don't.

    There might have been a good idea in there but Nolan has taken the audience so much for granted, although explained in some reviews as Nolan doesn't talk down to the viewer, no he doesn't bother explaining many elements of the plot at all, he obviously assumes we'll go in for another pass, well this is one viewer that won't be.

    Whereas I walked out Inception understanding the story with elements that enriched it more on future viewings as they were revealed, whereas Tenet doesn't explain itself enough the first time round and rather than make me want to see it again, if I watched this again it would likely make me even more incensed than I was this time.

    The time travel element just allows him to deus ex machina to the max. @peter had warned me but I'm so glad I rented this and didn't risk my health earlier in the year to see it at the cinema.

    The film has no emotion and I couldn't give a damn about anyone in it.

    Kenneth Branagh is getting worse, his Poirot made my blood boil but Nolan has made the most cliched evil Russian Oligarch villain where poor Ken has just hammed it up to the max.

    Elizabeth Debicki gets away with the most dignity, not that her character is written particularly well (Nolan can't write strong women roles) it is more that Debicki is a terrific actress and does the best with the role she can.

    JDW looks good in suits and I loved him in Blakkklansmann but here due to the dialogue he gets to spout is just annoying, Pattinson is quite likeable but poor Aaron Taylor Wood seems to be channelling Dick Van Dyke, in a role that feels like it was earmarked originally for Tom Hardy.

    Who knows what dear Christopher will do next once he has retrieved his head from his behind but I'll be very cautious about entering into his imagination again on the back of this enterprise.

    1/5

  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe The long road ahead
    Posts: 7,848
    Tenet is like OHMSS, which was also slated upon its release. Some films are just ahead of their time.
  • matt_umatt_u better known as Mr. Roark
    Posts: 4,343
    Tenet is like OHMSS, which was also slated upon its release. Some films are just ahead of their time.

    Lol that doesn’t prove anything.

    If bad writing means being ahead, then you’re right.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe The long road ahead
    edited January 2021 Posts: 7,848
    matt_u wrote: »
    Tenet is like OHMSS, which was also slated upon its release. Some films are just ahead of their time.

    Lol that doesn’t prove anything.

    If bad writing means being ahead, then you’re right.

    Point is, for 30 some years the prevailing attitude was that OHMSS was the black sheep of Bond. Now its regarded one of the best.

    I think Nolan released Tenet in the knowledge that it would be divide opinion. This one was MEANT for posterity, in years to come when people will have had opportunity to reevaluate. In 20 years Tenet might be considered his most important work.
  • JamesBondKenyaJamesBondKenya Danny Boyle laughs to himself
    Posts: 2,730
    It’s his 2001. A film received as mixed during its time because it is essentially “experimental” and “nonsensical” but also somehow develops an enduring quality because of that very uniqueness
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 7,955
    Maybe we should wait until 2040 before declaring TENET an underappreciated classic.
  • GadgetManGadgetMan Lagos, Nigeria
    Posts: 4,247
    I love Tenet. It's just that it's a complex film released during a pandemic, and this particular pandemic have people feeling very downbeat and brains don't have the energy to decipher things. If Tenet came out in 2015, it could have been well received and would have surely been a commercial hit as well. Maybe if Inception came out this year, it might have had the same polarizing reviews. People love puzzles, only when they're happy.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython “Baja?!”
    Posts: 7,955
    The big difference is that INCEPTION had stronger appeal because there was an emotional hook to it, and it did a better job of conveying what was happening. TENET is all puzzle and no heart. A technical exercise that will probably be talked of among film nerds rather than your average viewers.
  • matt_umatt_u better known as Mr. Roark
    Posts: 4,343
    matt_u wrote: »
    Tenet is like OHMSS, which was also slated upon its release. Some films are just ahead of their time.

    Lol that doesn’t prove anything.

    If bad writing means being ahead, then you’re right.

    Point is, for 30 some years the prevailing attitude was that OHMSS was the black sheep of Bond. Now its regarded one of the best.

    I think Nolan released Tenet in the knowledge that it would be divide opinion. This one was MEANT for posterity, in years to come when people will have had opportunity to reevaluate. In 20 years Tenet might be considered his most important work.

    Hopefully within the next 20 years Nolan will make something better that Tenet. Just saying...

    Tenet might be seen as his most extreme work, but it doesn’t mean it will become his “Blade Runner” misunderstood kind of film.
  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 4,043
    Tenet is an utter pile of bollocks, comparing it to OHMSS, don't make me laugh.

    It isn't complex at all, it is evidence that Nolan didn't have a clue how to convey his idea and just thought he'd get away with it because he is Christopher Nolan.

    I don't say this with any pleasure being a fan of the man since 2000 with Memento but I sat their utterly dumbfounded that he thought this resembled any sense or flow.

    If this is appreciated in years to come it will because IQ's have fallen that low that something as terribly plotted and executed as this is regarded as intelligent.

    People have been saying he is the emperors new clothes for a long time and I defended him because I liked what he created but I can't defend this utter nonsense.

  • peterpeter Toronto
    Posts: 7,944
    It was the only film I wanted to walk out of. But I stayed until the bitter end. There was nothing smart about this film. It was just another ticking time bomb scenario, gussied up with a half-baked sci-fi element, with “characters” that lacked character, all wrapped in a visually-pretty bow.
    It was a perfect example of how now to write a screenplay.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe The long road ahead
    Posts: 7,848
    The big difference is that INCEPTION had stronger appeal because there was an emotional hook to it, and it did a better job of conveying what was happening. TENET is all puzzle and no heart. A technical exercise that will probably be talked of among film nerds rather than your average viewers.

    Many a great filmmaker (before Nolan) has been accused of lacking heart.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    edited January 2021 Posts: 7,965
    The big difference is that INCEPTION had stronger appeal because there was an emotional hook to it, and it did a better job of conveying what was happening. TENET is all puzzle and no heart. A technical exercise that will probably be talked of among film nerds rather than your average viewers.

    Many a great filmmaker (before Nolan) has been accused of lacking heart.

    None of them made a film as bad, or certainly as dull, as TENET.
  • matt_umatt_u better known as Mr. Roark
    Posts: 4,343
    peter wrote: »
    It was the only film I wanted to walk out of. But I stayed until the bitter end. There was nothing smart about this film. It was just another ticking time bomb scenario, gussied up with a half-baked sci-fi element, with “characters” that lacked character, all wrapped in a visually-pretty bow.
    It was a perfect example of how now to write a screenplay.

    Yep. As I said right after watching the film, Nolan is a great director, but he desperately needs a writer.
  • peterpeter Toronto
    Posts: 7,944
    matt_u wrote: »
    peter wrote: »
    It was the only film I wanted to walk out of. But I stayed until the bitter end. There was nothing smart about this film. It was just another ticking time bomb scenario, gussied up with a half-baked sci-fi element, with “characters” that lacked character, all wrapped in a visually-pretty bow.
    It was a perfect example of how now to write a screenplay.

    Yep. As I said right after watching the film, Nolan is a great director, but he desperately needs a writer.

    Agreed @matt_u ...
  • Posts: 7,492
    matt_u wrote: »
    Tenet is like OHMSS, which was also slated upon its release. Some films are just ahead of their time.

    Lol that doesn’t prove anything.

    If bad writing means being ahead, then you’re right.

    Point is, for 30 some years the prevailing attitude was that OHMSS was the black sheep of Bond. Now its regarded one of the best.

    I think Nolan released Tenet in the knowledge that it would be divide opinion. This one was MEANT for posterity, in years to come when people will have had opportunity to reevaluate. In 20 years Tenet might be considered his most important work.

    I think Nolan mainly wanted to make a blockbuster hit. You can call him many things, but although he is definitely creative, artistic he is not...
  • BennyBenny keeping tabs on youAdministrator, Moderator
    Posts: 14,722
    Mumble, mumble, mumble *LOUD MUSIC* mumble, mumble, mumble.
    So I watched Tenet last night with my son, and have to say what drivel. I'm very hit or miss with Nolan's work. Only really liked Dunkirk since his last Batman movie. And The Dark Knight Rises was the lesser of that trilogy. For me, he's very good at stunning visuals and handling epic scale set pieces. But his story telling and writing is often all over the place.
    Tenet has moments of impressive looking set pieces, and the leads do well with what they can. That's as far as I can go with the positive comments. 30 minutes in my son looked across to me and asked if I knew what was going on. I had no idea. And after the two and half hour running time, I still had little clue. Nothing is ever explained satisfactorily for the audience to get what is happening. Half the dialogue is mumbled or drowned out by overly loud music playing over the top of the dialogue.
    Certain scenes seem to end abruptly making the film sometimes feel like a series of set pieces mashed together. I've read many reviews saying you need to watch it several times to get it...why? I don't have to watch Bond films several times before I get it. I didn't have to watch The Shawshank Redemption multiple times to get it. Films shouldn't be a puzzle that you have to see over and over before you get it. People enjoy clever films, with twist ending's that make you think. But being confused the whole time because the narrative is sloppy isn't something I enjoy.
    I get that there are plenty of fans of Tenet, but I am not one of them.
    If anyone can tell me what the story is including what Tenet is, then please do so.
  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 4,043
    Benny wrote: »
    Mumble, mumble, mumble *LOUD MUSIC* mumble, mumble, mumble.
    So I watched Tenet last night with my son, and have to say what drivel. I'm very hit or miss with Nolan's work. Only really liked Dunkirk since his last Batman movie. And The Dark Knight Rises was the lesser of that trilogy. For me, he's very good at stunning visuals and handling epic scale set pieces. But his story telling and writing is often all over the place.
    Tenet has moments of impressive looking set pieces, and the leads do well with what they can. That's as far as I can go with the positive comments. 30 minutes in my son looked across to me and asked if I knew what was going on. I had no idea. And after the two and half hour running time, I still had little clue. Nothing is ever explained satisfactorily for the audience to get what is happening. Half the dialogue is mumbled or drowned out by overly loud music playing over the top of the dialogue.
    Certain scenes seem to end abruptly making the film sometimes feel like a series of set pieces mashed together. I've read many reviews saying you need to watch it several times to get it...why? I don't have to watch Bond films several times before I get it. I didn't have to watch The Shawshank Redemption multiple times to get it. Films shouldn't be a puzzle that you have to see over and over before you get it. People enjoy clever films, with twist ending's that make you think. But being confused the whole time because the narrative is sloppy isn't something I enjoy.
    I get that there are plenty of fans of Tenet, but I am not one of them.
    If anyone can tell me what the story is including what Tenet is, then please do so.

    Nail very succinctly hit on the head, couldn't agree more @Benny.
  • BennyBenny keeping tabs on youAdministrator, Moderator
    Posts: 14,722
    Thanks @Shardlake I had read reviews and wanted to make my own mind up. I'm guessing the fan boys have ramped up the IMDB rating. Aside from a few scenes and set pieces, I'd say Tenet is the bottom of Nolan's films.
    I believe it was you who said you don't want him anywhere near a Bond film. Well, I'll agree with you if this is what he makes.
    I'm glad that Spielberg never got to make a Bond film in the 80's, or we wouldn't have got Indiana Jones. Let Nolan do the same. I want a Bond film, not Christopher Nolan's take on James Bond, that I'm left scratching my head at when I leave the cinema.
  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 4,043
    Benny wrote: »
    Thanks @Shardlake I had read reviews and wanted to make my own mind up. I'm guessing the fan boys have ramped up the IMDB rating. Aside from a few scenes and set pieces, I'd say Tenet is the bottom of Nolan's films.
    I believe it was you who said you don't want him anywhere near a Bond film. Well, I'll agree with you if this is what he makes.
    I'm glad that Spielberg never got to make a Bond film in the 80's, or we wouldn't have got Indiana Jones. Let Nolan do the same. I want a Bond film, not Christopher Nolan's take on James Bond, that I'm left scratching my head at when I leave the cinema.

    As I've said I took no pleasure feeling how I did about Tenet but I was utterly dumfounded it had received the reviews it had.

    I'm a big Nolan fan, I don't like Interstellar and TDKR was the weakest of the 3 Bat films, though I did very much enjoy Inception but that had a plot, possibly a little too clever at times but I felt thrilled by that.

    I got it the first time and then went back to find more elements that enhanced my viewing. I think Nolan constructed Tenet to elicit this idea but I'm damned if I'm wasting 2.5 hours on my life to be likely more frustrated than I was the first time round.

    Not at one point did I find Tenet thrilling, confusing and frustrating yes but thrilling no.
    The vulture article below is worth a read if you want to try and work out what it was that Nolan was trying to say. Although we shouldn't have to read articles written by other people to make sense of a film.

    https://www.vulture.com/.../tenet-explained-whats-going...

    If you have some time to waste check out NolanFans, they seem to think it is amazing, it is beyond me.

    Quite a few of Nolan's detractors have used the phrase the emperors new clothes, I've defended that accusation in the past despite sometimes understanding Nolan's cleverness might be a wind up to some but I can't here.
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