Acclaimed writer/director Christopher Nolan plants himself at odds with TV manufacturers everywhere, claiming he dislikes the way his films appear on TV. The Dark Knight director, being somewhat of an auteur filmmaker, is highly troubled by the changes the television applies to the viewer experience.
Catapulted into fame with his breakout film Memento, Christopher Nolan became a near household name when he took a much darker, grittier approach to the Batman movies. In the British filmmaker's version, prior goofy iterations of the Joker were eclipsed by Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning portrayal of a twisted, maniacal villain. His most recent projects, Interstellar (2014) and Dunkirk (2018) landed him several Oscar nominations and a few wins. All of this to say, Nolan is highly regarded in the film world and appears to scrutinize his work intently. It's not shocking, then, that he has problems with the TVs that improperly display his movies.
Slash Film first reported the story this week, attaching a message penned by Nolan and fellow director Jonathan Mostow - the co-chairs of the DGA's Creative Rights Committee. The message explained that Nolan and filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) had reached out to television manufacturers to address this issue. The letter included a survey they requested directors fill out so that the manufacturers could create a "reference mode" that will allow viewers to watch the piece as was originally intended.
The most critical aspect of Nolan's complaint centers around something called "motion smoothing". Motion smoothing was created to fix the blurriness of moving images on Hi-Def TV's. In essence, this feature creates what is commonly referred to as the "soap opera effect" by removing the intended blurriness of a film to give it a crisper edge - one that also muddles the movie's intended look. While it can be useful for watching live events (like sports games), many people dislike the effect it has on theatrical-released films. At the very least, it's not the way directors like Nolan intended fans to see their work.
Whether Nolan's message makes much headway with TV manufacturers or not, he's brought an important viewing quality issue to the attention of film lovers everywhere. Film purists have long suggested watching movies in the theater is the only way. However, as we move further and further into the digital age, and people continue to forego TV and cable for laptops and Netflix, it seems as though Nolan's plight may prove futile.
Source: Slash Film