In an Entertainment Weekly article about “Inception,” director Christopher Nolan says something really stupid.
It’s about “Memento,” an earlier movie. Here’s the blurb: “Nolan says he seeks to capture the imagination by ‘trying to transcend the tyranny’ of linear narrative.”
Transcending the tyranny of linear narrative. Even though it’s not an exact quote, if it’s accurate at all, it’s sad and makes me want to see Memento less.
Granted, that format probably fit a story like “Memento,” with its protagonist’s trouble with memory.
But I always worry when creators overthink things. They make things more complicated than they need to be.
Ever since the first stories were told around a campfire, they were told in linear narrative. Even what they were told about was linear: The first stories, supposedly, were about how we came to be. There was nothing, then there was a bunch of rocks and lizards and stuff. Where did it all come from? There’s a linear story behind that.
Even if you jumble the scenes up, the human mind (the audience) will try to put the pieces back together in a way that will make sense. So, you can un-linear a story all you want, your audience will still put it all together. Maybe they’ll get it right, too. Maybe they won’t. Is that really what you want?
It takes a lot of pain and stress to finish a creative project. I don’t know why anyone would willingly obscure the message they are trying to convey.
If they are going to sort it out anyway, why not give it to them straight?
A friend of mine said “Pulp Fiction” was a great movie. But if they showed you the scenes in chronological order, it would have been an OK movie. That’s when scenes out of order are nothing more than a gimmick – a facade to make things seem more complex than they really are.
I’ve used this quote before:
Steve Martin said “I believe entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you’re an idiot.”