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‘Tenet’, the film to “save cinema”...

This seems to be the buzz phrase at the moment, with Cinema’s finally opening back up from a long and hard winter during COVID-19 lockdown Summer. Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is the first big blockbuster to be released in what seems like years. And while the time inversion, espionage, sci-fi thriller is an absolute cinematic marvel, from one of the UK’s best Directors of all time, the one thing that was on my mind while I tried to digest the complex story and copious amounts of exposition was...“What did they just say?” I’ve read this article from Ralph Jones at The Guardian and I'm glad I'm not alone as this film has come under some scrutiny from cinema go-ers saying that the dialogue is “barely-audible.” While I think that is a little harsh, this isn’t the first time the mix of a Christopher Nolan film has had a similar effect, think Bane from 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises! Jones says that ‘...with most problems, every department assumes that another department is to blame.’ Sound recordists will blame mixers, mixers will blame Directors, Directors will blame projectionists....this has been going on for years, with directors such as David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick giving cinema projectionist’s specific notes on how to show their film. But I think Christopher Nolan knows exactly what he’s doing. He wants you to work for it. He wants you to engage with the film, not the other way around. In a world where adverts and social media need to pry you away from your phone, Nolan’s world needs you to leave that way of life at the ticket office. You need to give, not take, to enjoy this film. It’s a complex story and you need to want to enjoy it. You can’t be a passive spectator...

So...did the mix ruin the film for me? Hmmm, slightly, it took me a while to realise that I wasn't being talked to, and I needed to listen...BUT... I will be seeing this for a second time in the Cinema.

For me Nolan has this way of taking our world and shifting it ever so slightly, so that everything changes, and that can't be missed. Even if you can't quite hear what they’re saying the first time round...

Michael Hills Dubbing Editor/Sound Designer @FitzroviaAudioPost

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/sep/03/tenet-dialogue-christopher-nolan-sound-technology



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