Christopher Nolan’s use of sounds upset some and inspires others

Christopher Nolan's use of sounds upset some and inspires others

boffo global box office”cautionIs evidence of the public’s desire for ” Christopher NolanHowever, as films are released in more and more countries and in the United States, familiar questions arise about the unusual approach to the director’s voice and how much or how little impact the film might have. The audience can understand.

The message posted on Reddit last week reflects the discontent of moviegoers. User Moff_tarkin said, “The sound mix was terrible. This is really unacceptable, and it has significantly reduced my enjoyment of this movie,” said user Linubidix, “There was an important conversation that was rarely heard.” Elsewhere, user JaydenSpark said, “I couldn’t hear the 30-minute conversation because everyone was muttering in a mask.” So it continued.

Many commentators have also noted that similar complaints have been filed against previous Nolan films. For example, in “The Dark Knight Rises,” Tom Hardy’s Bane wore a heavy muzzle that distorted his lines so much that it became a cultural touchpoint for conversations that could not be understood in the film. Meanwhile, the Fog Horn scores of’Dark Night Rise’,’Inception’, and’Inter Stella’ also play a role in overwhelming the conversation.

“This is not uncommon in Chris’ film,” said studio official. “But with eight nominations and five wins for the sound, the record speaks for itself.”

Responding to complaints about an inaudible exchange on “Tenet,” one British exhibitor said on Twitter that the flaws were in the 35mm print and that they are switching to a digital version to improve sound quality. Given that these complaints are flowing from different places in different cities, towns and countries, all of this seems to be a deliberate artistic choice. It makes some people even more angry.

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The frustrations were further heightened by the repressed anticipation from the COVID-19 shutdown and repeated delays in the launch of “Tenet’s”. According to a recent European exhibition expert, Nolan’s status as “the savior of cinema” only adds to the weight of the expectations the film should have.

Sound experts in touch Kinds I was reluctant to comment on other people’s work, especially given the outstanding performance of the “Tenet” sound team led by Oscar-winning sound editor Richard King for “The Dark Knight”, “Inception” and “Dunkirk” by Nolan. I was nominated for an Oscar for “Interstellar.”

The directing sound editor, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said, “The sound mix of the Christopher Nolan film is enormously considered.

Anything you hear or don’t hear is the result of “super-conscious instructions”. He adds: “They rejoice when they understand the’points’ of the conversation. As a conversation editor, I prefer to understand each word, but that’s what I prefer.”

The award-winning sound mixer says, referring to the film as having a “good sound team”: “I know Nolan likes to push the limits. He’s an artist and doesn’t believe in working with the lowest common denominator of the projection environment.”

He adds, “It’s amazing how different this sound mix can be translated in different theaters when listening in a perfect mixing theater environment and pushing the limits of the system.”

Sound designer Peter Albrechtsen, who worked on “Dunkirk”, disagrees. Nolan wants to make sure that “every movie is showing the movie exactly the way she wants it.” “I have Atmos right now because that’s the format most cinemas use, but that’s why I’m mixing sound in 5.1.”

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In Albrechtsen’s opinion, “Tenet” is “a great movie.” He likens this to “The James Bond movie about steroids.”

The way Nolan uses sound is “very instinctive,” he says. “It’s a physical experience.” He adds: “This is a very intense acoustic experience, and for some you can see why it is overwhelming. His cinematic environment is very lively, and his complex sound design helps to make it.

He admits that “small conversation details” can be difficult to grasp as a result, but he likes the fact that not everything is “served on a plate” for viewers. “You have to step on your toes to see all the details,” he says.

Albrechtsen says that in his films, dialogue is mostly production sound because filmmakers rarely use Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR), the process of re-recording dialogue in sound studios. “This means conversations can be a bit more impudent,” he says. “But it’s also very realistic and I really like the contrast between this and the intense soundscape of effects and ambience.” By comparison, he says the audio is “very clean” since most big effect movies use a lot of ADR.

He says that “Tenet”‘s “acoustic experience” is “very creative” in the way it “utilizes sound effects back and forth”, which reinforces the concept of time reversed in the story.

He admits that Nolan’s use of sound as part of the film’s storytelling separates cinemas and critics alike, some discovering too much and others being “excited” by it. But this is part of Nolan’s identity as a film director, he says.

Albrechtsen says it is too much for any filmmaker to meet the expectation of becoming a “savior of cinema”, but nonetheless, Nolan’s “passion for cinema is very encouraging”.

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Brent Lang contributed to this report.

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