Over the past few years, critics have written at length about our need to “solve” movies. From blockbuster features to auteurist passion projects, audiences are increasingly treating films and franchises as puzzles to unlock. This has resulted in outcries for more ambiguity. Who cares if the top falls over at the end of Christopher Nolan‘s “Inception“? The point is not that there is a right answer – the point is that we do not know. With all of this in mind, I find it refreshing when the cast and crew of some of these movies simply throw their hands up in the air and admit defeat alongside the rest of us.
During an appearance on Marc Maron‘s WTF Podcast, Brad Pitt joked about not understanding all of the science in “Ad Astra.” This opened the door for Leonardo DiCaprio to talk about his experience working with Nolan on “Inception,” a movie that DiCaprio is still trying to figure out. “That’s like ‘Inception’ for me. What happened? I have no idea,” DiCaprio explained. “You’re just focused on your character, man. I do get involved [with the story], but when it came to Christopher Nolan and his mind and how [‘Inception’] was all pieced together, everyone was trying to constantly put that puzzle together.”
How can audiences be expected to “solve” movies when the performers themselves have no clue what is going on? “Ad Astra” and “Inception” may have confused Pitt and DiCaprio, respectively, but their admission of this only proves that movies only ever need to hang together enough to make the various pieces work. Even without knowing how all the pieces fit together, Pitt and DiCaprio were able to build rich, likable characters, demonstrating how often even the best films can be an individual pursuit. Here’s looking forward to what people have to say when Nolan’s “TENET” drops a little later this year.