There Is a Cinematic Reason You May Have Struggled to Hear Parts of ‘Tenet’


Tenet has had a stellar opening at the international box office and it’s no wonder. Christopher Nolan knows how to make a movie.

The resounding success of his latest thriller has been the most-talked-about film of the past year — not only because of its very “Nolan-esque” storyline and easter eggs but for the cinematic experience which comes with it.

However, while captivating, there has been some concern from some users on Reddit over the sound quality.

“The sound mix was awful. This is really unacceptable and reduced my enjoyment of this movie considerably,” user Moff_tarkin wrote, while user Linubidix wrote: “There was some crucial dialogue that was nearly inaudible.”

While it has caused some confusion, there is actually a very cinematic reason for the changing in sound levels.

Like many other epic Nolan films, various audio levels play a significant role in the movie’s creativity and storyline. As a result of this and the capabilities of the IMAX camera used throughout, you may notice dialogue is softer in parts of the movie or even muffled in the case of the masks. What you may not know, is that the sound was directed this way to give the audience the most authentic experience possible.

In an interview with Variety, one supervising sound editor noted that “the sound mixes for Christopher Nolan films are painstakingly considered. Everything you hear (or don’t hear) is the result of ultra-conscious direction.”

The art of the sound was also not left to the movie Gods as Nolan had an award-winning sound mixer on his team. In 2011, Richard King — who is the supervising sound mixer on Tenet — won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing for Inception, so all choices were deliberate.

And according to Peter Albrechtsen, the sound designer for Nolan’s 2017 film Dunkirk, Nolan use of sound is “very visceral”.

“It is a physical experience. It’s a very intense sonic experience, and I can see why, for some, that’s quite overwhelming. The environments in his film are very vibrant,” he told Variety.

Don’t miss Tenet in cinemas now (tickets are on sale now at HOYTS). The only way to experience it is on the big screen with the best sound in HOYTS Xtremescreen, or upgrade your cinema experience to HOYTS LUX.

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