Christopher Nolan will save theaters with Tenet

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

I'm a huge Christopher Nolan fan and who isn't? I believe he's the best filmmaker we have alive today in many aspects. He redefined the superhero genre with The Dark Knight, crushed timelines with Memento, entered the 4th dimension with Interstellar, and tackled dreams on a whole new level with Inception.

Are his movies perfect even with 200 million dollar budgets? No. Let me nit pick and tear him down before I build him up in my studies of his work. In one shot during ”the Dark Knight Rises“, Batman completely misses a punch on Bain though Bain reacts as if hit, I mean Batman literally catches air. “Interstellar”'s plot line is a reboot "Lost in space", the plot twist of the scientist turning on the explorers when winding up on the wrong planet is the same: Matt Damon is the Gary Oldman character. “Inception“ might be deemed his version of the Matrix because after all, the future of virtual reality is dreaming. I didn't care much for Dunkirk. See what I did there? No filmmaker will ever be perfect to anyone. With any filmmaker from Cuaron to Cameron, we can find flaws in each's game, but what I love about Nolan most is that at any budget level, he gives you as much as possibly can with each project and its respective budget. He coins it "intelligent compromise" in one interview, but I think what sets him apart from others is that he gives you value in every sense: from the stakes of the story, the mind boggling concepts, the IMAX camera he shoots on, the number of scenes and locations, the amount of action and practical explosions, the quality of actors he chooses to work with (not necessarily based on name) in even supporting and minor roles.

Too many movies try to replicate his vision, reverse engineer his craftsmanship like taking a part a new iPhone, and trying to make a new one, more interested in trying to make a profit before the movie is even made. This is not cinema. And that's why those type movies bomb at the box office, because audiences know when they are getting deceived. Nolan, like my other heroes I write about, is not a manufactured story teller. "Following", his first feature work struggled to get a festival to accept it, and "Memento" was self distributed under his own brand: "Syncopy", and through struggles he overcame and elevated his craft, maximized what he could do at the budgets he worked with.

So, maybe I stop here about Christopher Nolan(I should do a separate piece on him entirely) and tell you why he will save theaters. Because he chooses to. Putting a movie in theaters is a choice for studios and independents. It also costs money to advertise to you to watch it, but it's the only way to justify the enormous budgets and have a chance at making the money back. On just a general note, let's not forget that we go to the movies to meet up with friends in person, go on a date, and in more rural areas, a reason to get out of the house. Going to the theater is culture and it’s not going away unless we decide we no longer value it.

With digital piracy so rampant, Netflix (which I love by the way) and VOD is a different social experience but I love the fact that it challenges studios, and other companies to make theater worthy movies, while also giving audiences a choice, and indie filmmakers opportunities so when there's a filmmaker capable of pushing the limits like Nolan, the cinema doors will be open.


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