Tenet

Tenet ½

Title: Hard to UnderstanddnatsrednU ot darH
Alternate Title: Nolan is Sponsored by Hearing Aid Manufacturers

Christopher Nolan is certainly a film maker to be lauded. There is certainly no director that can convince a studio that a full sized 747 needs to be crashed into a building without having strong credentials to back up such a request. His films, mostly, have strong 'high-concept' ideas that are not regularly seen in high budget blockbusters. It is important to remember that Nolan, at least currently, is not the auteur, independent film-maker he once was and is now a big budget blockbuster film maker who's film contain out there concepts and ideas. This is not the criticism some people may take it for but in the age of Transformers a big budget blockbuster with unique ideas is a welcome addition.

It is certainly no criticism that Nolan is making films for the movie going experience. While I have never experienced IMAX personally the marketing for it makes it seem to be the ultimate movie viewing experience which Nolan wants to be creating. There is certainly a lot a of great filmmaking in 'Tennet' with great set-pieces and action it is a great visual film experience. Which brings me onto the rating for the film.

A lot has been said about Nolan's sound mixing for the film and this is review is going to be no exception. In a film where dialogue is seemingly kept to the minimum and important concepts are barrelled through there is no excuse for the dialogue for being almost incomprehensible. This is where the paradox in his film making becomes clearer.

Barrelled dialogue is no means a criticism of itself. By rattling of concepts such as non-linear time, time reversal and the grandfather paradox, Nolan puts faith in the audience to either already be aware of those ideas or understand them from the brief definitions given. This is certainly a welcome addition in contrast to films that treat the audience as children who would have to be guided to put a circle through a circle hole. This would be fine if the dialogue was understandable and not buried in the mix. One opinion by Matthew Price from a Guardian article is that Nolan wants his audience members to work harder to understand the dialogue and as Richard King, sound designer on many Nolan films, said on a Reddit AMA "[Nolan] wants to grab the audience by the lapels and pull them towards the screen" making the audience work for the dialogue could indeed be the reason for the sound mixing. Yet by doing so it is seemingly treating the audience as children; by making the dialogue hard to hear and 'making them work for it' Nolan is saying "you really need to pay attention to this part" which goes against his trust in the audience to understand the concepts presented to them. The alternative is that Nolan does not want his audience to understand the film's dialogue. If so, what is the point of adding 'high concept' ideas such a reverse entropy and hints of the laws of physics if they are not going to be heard.

I could go on to say that the plot feels overly convoluted, the audio deafening, and the film feeling surprisingly passive but when playing with concepts such as time reversal conflicting with our own time by not giving the audience a chance to understand what is happening after seemingly being told, its not a good experience.

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