Critically acclaimed writer/director Christopher Nolan has some thoughts on the rising film industry behemoth that is Netflix. Once again a trending facet of popular culture, Nolan has been a key mover and shaker in the entertainment for quite some time. Starting with his breakthrough success in the form of Memento from 2000, the English-American filmmaker has since gone down in film history as the man who brought the much beloved The Dark Knight trilogy to life.
More recently, Nolan saw his critically acclaimed sci-fi epic Interstellar go on to become a major success at the global box office in 2014, and is all set to enjoy further attention with the release of his hotly anticipated World War II drama Dunkirk this week. Backed by overwhelmingly positive early reviews and a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Nolan's take on the infamous evacuation of British and Allied forces from Nazi occupied territory in 1940 has moviegoers taking note of his filmmaking prowess once again - and the latest word has the director offering a pointed critique of Netflix in particular.
In a recent conversation with the director published by IndieWire, Nolan waxed poetic on working within the parameters of the Hollywood studio system, and lambasted the move to digital distribution most popularly utilized by Netflix. A longtime lover of the theatrical experience that many filmmakers still believe can only be achieved at the multiplex, Nolan commented on the digital distribution model implemented by Netflix as follows:
"Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films. They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity."
Comparatively, Nolan was more forgiving of the business model implemented by Amazon Studios, which allows for a 90-day window wherein their films are distributed theatrically before being made available to stream online. But despite attracting the attention of such acclaimed filmmakers as Bong Joon Ho to the Netflix fold following the release of his sci-fi satire Okja late last month, Nolan was still leery, stating:
"I think the investment that Netflix is putting into interesting filmmakers and interesting projects would be more admirable if it weren’t being used as some kind of bizarre leverage against shutting down theaters. It’s so pointless. I don’t really get it."
The debate over whether or not Netflix can become a viable platform for film distribution will likely continue, and those against it have found another ally in Nolan. And just in case anyone thought Nolan might consider distributing one of his movies with Netflix supposing such an offer were ever presented, the filmmaker has taken a resoundingly defiant stance towards the possibility, commenting, "Well, why would you? If you make a theatrical film, it’s to be played in theaters."
- Dunkirk (2017) release date: Jul 21, 2017