Christopher Nolan reiterated his perspective on his 2020 film Tenet, emphasizing that some aspects of his filmography, including that movie, are not necessarily meant to make complete sense–and audiences can still find enjoyment in them without fully comprehending them. Speaking on a recent The Late Show With Stephen Colbert appearance, Nolan addressed the film’s complex narrative and viewers’ vocal struggles to fully grasp its perhaps intentionally obtuse intricacies.
Nolan, known for his tangled storytelling in films like Inception, Memento, and Interstellar–and arguably also Oppenheimer, if you find security hearings hard to follow–responded to questions about the perceived ambiguity of Tenet. “You’re not meant to understand everything in Tenet. It’s not all comprehensible,” Nolan said (via Variety), likening this ambiguity to the spinning top in at the end of Inception. He highlighted the deliberate uncertainty that he believes makes his movies worth watching, allowing room for audiences to engage and interpret them in their own way.
Nolan emphasized that his narratives aren’t puzzles to be solved but rather journeys to be experienced, whether in a theater or at home. “If you experience my film, you are getting it,” Nolan said.
Oppenheimer is nominated for 13 Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture and Best Director for Nolan. While Nolan has yet to win an Academy Award, he has earned nominations for Memento, Inception, and Dunkirk.
In the same Colbert appearance, Nolan also expressed his sincere, deep admiration and fandom for the Fast & Furious movie franchise.