Nolan On “Interstellar” Sound Mix Complaints

Cinema exhibitors aren’t probably that happy with filmmaker Christopher Nolan. After all the expense of swapping cinemas over to digital in recent years, Nolan essentially seemed to punish them by steadfastly pushing that his new film “Interstellar” be seen on traditional film. This ultimately added a lot of extra effort and cost which they have had to absorb to release a movie that has ultimately underwhelmed both critically and at the box-office.

On top of that, they have been on the receiving end of countless complaints about the film’s sound mix with dialogue being often drowned out by the score. At first it was thought that particular problem was due to isolated technical issues on a per cinema basis, but the issue has cropped up in so many cinemas in territories all around the world it began to look deliberate.

Christopher Nolan himself has now confirmed to THR that it was not only deliberate, but a lot of work was done to get it sounding that way. Nolan labels the film’s sound track as “impressionistic,” “adventurous” and “creative” and says:

“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… Broadly speaking, there is no question when you mix a film in an unconventional way as this, you’re bound to catch some people off guard, but hopefully people can appreciate the experience for what it’s intended to be.

There are particular moments in this film where I decided to use dialogue as a sound effect, so sometimes it’s mixed slightly underneath the other sound effects or in the other sound effects to emphasize how loud the surrounding noise is. It’s not that nobody has ever done these things before, but it’s a little unconventional for a Hollywood movie… That’s the way I like to work; I don’t like to hang everything on one particular line.”

There doesn’t appear to be any plans to produce a new version of the soundtrack with more audible dialogue.