Although Hans Zimmer has received accolades after accolades for accentuating the intensity and tension of the scenes from Nolan films, the Academy Award-nominated director has also received some criticism over his choice of soundtracks for his films.
But really, is it that loud? Because Tenet is the new addition to the list of films that have been severely criticized for being unnecessarily too loud.
It is no disputed fact that Christopher Nolan’s skill as a storyteller has caused an advent of a gigantic number of websites dedicated to analyze, dissect and interpret his movies and that indeed is a hard skill to master but over the years starting all the way from Inception, Nolan films have also been acrimoniously debated over the choice of soundtrack employed by the director.
And Tenet is a new addition to that list.
There are dialogues in almost all of his films that are crucial to understanding the whole plot and sometimes that loud background music makes those dialogues incomprehensible. It was “ok” for critics with Bane’s dialogue in The Dark Knight Rises, it became annoying with that docking scene in Interstellar, but now it has become unbearable with Tenet.
This is not to mention that relentless ear-shattering background tune in Dunkirk.
This time around Forbes critic Mandelson has not been kind with Nolan. He tore apart Nolan’s choice of music in Tenet. In his critical writing, Mandelson questioned in a very serious tone whether Nolan has any problems with the dialogue. He writes that what once was a “glorified joke” has now become an unnecessary annoyance and an imminent danger to the overall perceivance of his films.
Mandelson expounds his opinion in a straightforward manner by saying that if you are writing a narrative that does involve a certain amount of exposition, emphasis should be on the dialogue instead of the background music.
He also adds that for a director who is in love with theaters and in endeavoring to save it, his product is best suited to be viewed on a small device with the subtitles turned on.
However, the same criticism was hurled upon him in 2017 at the time of Dunkirk release, and he responded by saying that the soundtrack is chosen presuming that all the theaters are up to date with equipment that they use to play the sound. He acknowledged that it puts pressure on the exhibitors, but it was “2-3 films ago” he said, that he and his team decided to just make the best version of the film and let the exhibitors decide for themselves.
As far as the choice of music is concerned, he expounded his theory in an interview with the IndieWire when he said that he tried to resonate the feeling among the audience which the character is currently facing. By giving an example from that Interstellar docking scene, he said that he wanted the audience to feel how loud the surrounding was for Cooper and Brand.
He added that he disagrees that words are the best way to describe an emotion, he feels that as a filmmaker he ought to use everything that he has in his arsenal to create the thing he wants to create.
He said, and we all can agree that he wants to create things in “layers”, and that is true about the dialogues as well.
While we all can give an opinion about Nolan’s choice of soundtracks, the truth is that he hasn’t changed his stance regarding the choice of his music. The loud music is here to stay. Nolan pays attention to the music he wants for his film and what we hear in theaters is how exactly he wants us to hear it.
However, the criticism does hold some ground because we have seen in recent Television series like Chernobyl and The Haunting of Hill House that intelligent use of background silence hasn’t gone out of fashion and while we can mull over best sound playing equipment, it will remain an undisputed fact that silence will always enhance the suspense rather than degrading it down. Prudent use of silence is a sign of a master at work.
Jackson Henry. I’m a writer living in USA. I am a fan of technology, arts, and reading. I’m also interested in writing and education. You can read my blog with a click on the button above.