Christopher Nolan makes some compelling movies (and some I can’t stand), but regardless of my thoughts I do not particularly enjoy watching any of them in the theatres. Why? Because I can’t hear the dialogue. Funnily enough, the person who wrote Nolan’s most famous musical scores agrees with me.
It’s a common complaint about Nolan’s directing, in my anecdotal experience: His audio mastering is off, favouring the music over the dialogue in a way that can sometimes render the latter unintelligible. Notably, Hans Zimmer thinks so, too.
“I told Chris the music was too loud — you couldn’t hear the lines,” Zimmer said. “He said, ‘I wrote them. I can do what I want.’ He was right; people do remember the lines. He could have done 200 different cop-out endings, but he put that ending on. It’s hard to pull off a satisfying ending, if you’re that ambiguous. One second longer, or one sentence or note different, and it would have been a different movie.”
Well, in my experience, at least, the reason people remember the lines is because they watched the movie more than once. Subtitles are a godsend, after all. Still, I’m delighted to hear that even Zimmer thinks his score was maybe a bit too heavily emphasised in Nolan’s films.
But, hey, Nolan’s right. The director can do what he wants, for better, and for worse.