Watch: The Sounds of Christopher Nolan
By taking out the music, this video from Art of the Film showcases the sounds of Christopher Nolan's movies.
Sound is vitally important to films, but because it's less flashy than its visual cousin, the art of sound design sometimes seems to get short shrift. One modern-day filmmaker who employs famously excellent sound design is Christopher Nolan. To highlight the artistry and thought that goes into Richard King's sound design—Nolan's main collaborator— Art of the Film has removed music from Nolan's most famous films.
If the difference between good and great films is the attention to detail in all aspects of production, almost nowhere is this truth more evident than in sound design. InThe Shining, Stanley Kubrick used Danny's big wheel tours of The Overlook to show off the power of the newly invented Steadicam, but he also highlighted the sound of Danny's wheels as they moved from carpet to floor and back again just as much a part of these sequences.
Nolan is an heir to this attention to sound design, a director who has said that "sound is as important as picture."
When some complained about Interstellar's dialogue, Nolan responded, "I don't agree with the idea that you can only achieve clarity through dialogue," explaining that in some moments, he wanted to "use dialogue as a sound effect." Apparently, he had mixed some scenes to "emphasize how loud the surrounding noise is," to place the audience in the experience of the character. Nolan uses sound to evoke feeling as well as convey story.
While careless or clichéd sound can do irreparable harm to a movie, this video is an excellent demonstration of the rewards that can be reaped when filmmakers take a moment to listen to their films—and every filmmaker would do well to listen to Nolan's work.