There's A Good Reason You Might Struggle To Hear The Actors' Dialogue In Oppenheimer

"It's an artistic choice that some people disagree with, and that’s their right," director Christopher Nolan said.
Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer
Warner Bros

If you’re one of the many film fans who left the cinema after Oppenheimer pondering exactly what the actors were going on about in various scenes, rest easy knowing you’re not the only one.

Director Christopher Nolan has a bit of a reputation when it comes to muffled dialogue in his past films, which he’s said is actually on purpose.

Speaking to Insider, Nolan said his frequent use of Imax cameras, which aren’t soundproof, is the reason behind his films’ divisive audio issues, explaining that you have to “choose your moments” when to use this particular tech depending on how essential certain scenes’ dialogue is.

There are certain mechanical improvements, and actually, Imax is building new cameras right now which are going to be even quieter,” he said.

“But the real breakthrough is in software technology that allows you to filter out the camera noise. That has improved massively in the 15 or so years that I’ve been using these cameras. Which opens up for you to do more intimate scenes that you would not have been able to do in the past.”

Christopher Nolan on the Today show last month
Christopher Nolan on the Today show last month
NBC via Getty Images

Nolan also pointed out that, unlike many of his peers, he prefers not to call his actors back and have them re-record their dialogue in post-production to make it clearer.

“I like to use the performance that was given in the moment rather than the actor re-voice it later,” he added.

“Which is an artistic choice that some people disagree with, and that’s their right.”

Despite some cinema-goers complaining about the audio, Oppenheimer has been both a critical and commercial success since its release last month.

The epic historical biopic – featuring Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh and Emily Blunt among an all-star cast – has gone down a storm with critics, and become among Nolan’s top-rated offerings on the reviews site Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s now been widely speculated that Nolan is in the running to helm the new James Bond film, which will be the first in the franchise to be released following Daniel Craig’s departure as 007.


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