Of the big stories of 2020 (and we all know there are plenty of big stories), the film industry kept following the Christopher Nolan Saga this summer as we all anxiously awaited news on when we might see “Tenet.” Delay after delay, reports of Nolan forcing WB to release it too early in theaters, and the film “bombing” at the box office have been news fodder for months now. But with “Tenet” now available on Blu-ray and VOD, Christopher Nolan can look back and take the entire situation into perspective.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Nolan discussed the situation surrounding the release of “Tenet,” which after all the delays, debuted in theaters in September around the world and has really been the only major film to attempt a post-pandemic debut, leading many to wonder if it was too soon? And according to the filmmaker, arguing over that sort of stuff is trivial. He’s just happy that “Tenet” is on home disc.
“The reality is, there’s people in the world with real problems,” he said. “This is a pretty trivial concern about the release of film. But delving more into it, I’m a kid of the home video generation. And so we’ve all, and myself in particular, spent many years working with the studios on technical strategies of how to maximize image and sound quality for presentation, how we get it out there in that form and everything. And the short version of it is, I’m just super excited for people in America, in L.A. and New York in particular, to be able to see the movie.”
As for the film itself, the biggest criticism that many lob at “Tenet” is in regards to the plot. There are some that feel Nolan’s latest suffers from a, uh, convoluted plot, to say the least. The going back and forth in time, the pseudo-science, and the clunky exposition didn’t do the already complicated plot any favors. But for Nolan, he just thinks people need to go into the film expecting to be entertained and not try to “fight the movie.”
“What I find is people who just watch the movies to be entertained and have a good time, they get the movies and they understand the movies far better than people who fight the movies, who feel they’re in some kind of chess match with the movie while they’re watching it,” Nolan explained. “And the reality is, the reason people get frustrated like that is because it’s not a level playing field. I’ve had 20 years to think about these ideas. So it’s not a level playing field in that sense. It’s not meant to be a chess match between filmmaker and audience. It’s entertainment. It’s a ride you go on and, if done right, there will be aspects to it that will reward a second viewing. When you’re dealing with time and when you’re dealing with these sorts of complexities, you have to be making a film that the second time you watch it would be a different film.”
Look, the truth is, mentioning the plot as a concern in a Nolan film is pretty easy fodder to start Film Twitter feuds. There are those that agree with the filmmaker, and who think a film is an experience that is meant to be enjoyed first and foremost, with second and third viewings almost a necessity. Then you have others who feel that films should be self-contained stories that present an entertaining AND clear plot while also showing artistic flair. Depending on your views, your “Tenet” mileage may vary.
As mentioned, “Tenet” is available now wherever you buy films.