Why ‘Tenet’ Is Leaving So Many Viewers Frustrated

Tenet is the latest film to come from acclaimed Hollywood director Christopher Nolan. The movie’s unique storyline and stellar performances are winning audiences over. But there is one major drawback about Tenet that’s leaving viewers truly frustrated. 

Tenet
Tenet | Warner Bros. Media

‘Tenet’ finally makes its theatrical premiere

Fans have been waiting for Tenet ever since the project was announced in 2019. The film was originally slated for a July 2020 premiere date. But when the COVID-19  pandemic shut movie theaters down, Warner Bros. was forced to push the release back further. 

But by mid-summer, the studio announced definitive dates for the film. Tenet was released internationally in 70 countries on Aug. 26, 2020. And it is slated to his select American theaters in IMAX on Sept. 3, 2020.  As of now, Warner Bros. has not confirmed a date for the digital release. 

RELATED: ‘Tenet’ Star Kenneth Branagh Describes His ‘Backwards Forwards’ Dialogue In the Christopher Nolan Movie

It features a star-studded cast worth watching

Similar to Nolan’s hit films, Inception and Interstellar, Tenet tells a story that transcends time. It stars John David Washington as the Protagonist, a CIA agent whose wife tragically dies in a mysterious accident. Twilight and The Batman star Robert Pattinson plays the Protagonist’s handler, Neil. 

Academy Award-winning actor Michael Caine joins the cast as British Intelligence officer Sir Michael Crosby. And Kenneth Branagh stars as a Russian oligarch who confers with the future. Elizabeth Debicki, Martin Donovan, and Dimple Kapadia also star. 

‘Tenet’ viewers were left frustrated with the inaudible dialogues

With its deeply intense storyline and stellar cast, viewers weren’t expecting to miss out on one word of Tenet. But as it turns out, many parts of the film were inaudible. And fans were left frustrated by the ineffective sound mixing. 

“Honestly I was not impressed with it one bit,” one Reddit user wrote. “I thought it was borderline unprofessional. It’s a very dialogue-heavy film and you really do need to hear what characters are saying — It reminded me of that one family member or work colleague who doesn’t talk loud enough and you have to lean in to hear.”

“I just watched it and everyone I saw it with had the same complaint, the sound mix was awful,” another Redditor shared. “At first I thought it was just my cinema but now I see its everywhere. This is really unacceptable and reduced my enjoyment of this movie considerably.”

Nolan’s movies are known for being a little iffy when it comes to sound. But back in 2014, when he was criticized for including similar inaudible moments in Interstellar, the director revealed that he enjoys using sound in an “adventurous and creative” way. 

“Many of the filmmakers I’ve admired over the years have used sound in bold and adventurous ways,” Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t agree with the idea that you can only achieve clarity through dialogue. Clarity of story, clarity of emotions — I  try to achieve that in a very layered way using all the different things at my disposal — picture and sound.”

But if theatergoers, including the ones that are watching in IMAX, are complaining about sound quality, viewers who will be watching at home may have it even worse. If Nolan doesn’t remix the sound for the Blu-ray and digital releases, fans may just have to pop on the captions.