The Only Nolan Movie That Left Tarantino Utterly Baffled
Quentin Tarantino is never shy about the movies he loves and, more infamously, the movies he hates. Recently, he's admitted that he doesn't like the most recent film of a fellow filmmaking icon.
Christopher Nolan 's 2020 thriller Tenet was built up as an ambitious, time-traveling epic. Many fans couldn't enjoy the experience, saying it was just too confusing.
Those fans are in good company – it confused Tarantino, too.
He spoke to ReelBlend while promoting his novelization of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood when the topic of Nolan's long-anticipated film came up. His short review said what the rest of us were thinking:
"I think I need to see it again."
Nolan's films are always a little bit convoluted, sometimes bordering on confusing. Mid-way through the film, you're still not totally sure what's going on. But by the end, it's always wrapped up in a neat bow – though he often throws in an ambiguous ending, just to mess with the audience's minds a little further.
Tenet took that to another level.
Despite the confusing twists that even cinephiles like Tarantino couldn't understand, Tenet still received high ratings and was the fifth-highest-grossing movie of 2020.
Tarantino's negative response to Tenet was relatively tame. He's bashed Hunger Games as a Battle Royale ripoff, he's called the Marvel Cinematic Universe the "death of the movie star," and said the Matrix sequels made him like the first one less. He once even said he didn't love The Town because its cast was too good-looking.
Other than Tenet, Tarantino has always praised Nolan's work.
He called 2017's Dunkirk his second favorite movie of the decade, narrowly beaten out by David Fincher's The Social Network. Appearing on the Ringer's Rewatchables podcast, he said he was awed by the spectacle of the WWII drama.
Nolan in turn has praised Tarantino. The duo appeared on the Director's Guild of America Q&A session in 2015, in which Nolan described Tarantino's newest release The Hateful Eight as "one hell of a movie."
The two auteurs have a lot in common, often saying they've learned from the other and asked for advice in their projects.
Both can be described as classic filmmakers, almost always playing the role of both director and screenwriter. Both have incredibly distinct styles – to the point where "Nolanesque" and "Tarantinoesque" have become acceptable words to critique film. They both love playing with the concept of time and both got their start in micro-budget independent film.
They've also both released exactly ten feature films that they've written and directed, though Nolan's 11th – Oppenheimer – will hit theaters this summer.