Christopher Nolan Explains Quentin Tarantino Retiring: Prizes Film History

Christopher Nolan recently told the “ReelBlend” podcast (via CinemaBlend) that he understands Quentin Tarantino’s decision to retire from feature filmmaking after his upcoming 10th directorial effort, titled “The Movie Critic.” Tarantino has spoken for years about his plan to retire, saying he wants to leave behind a consistently strong and tightly curated body of work.

“And do you believe him?” Nolan asked the podcast hosts regarding Tarantino’s planned retirement.

There’s no reason not to believe Tarantino at this time. Every time he’s dropped details about his next movie, “The Movie Critic,” he has reminded fans it will be his last directorial feature while also stressing that just because he is retiring from filmmaking doesn’t mean he can’t write books, plays, television series and more. Tarantino bringing his filmmaking career to an end in his 60s is a contrast to a filmmaker like Martin Scorsese, who is releasing “Killers of the Flower Moon” at age 80 later this year.

“The truth is, I understand both points of view,” Nolan said when asked if he wants to take Tarantino or Scorsese’s route. “It’s addictive to tell stories in cinema. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s very fun. It’s something you feel driven to do, and so it’s a little hard to imagine voluntarily stopping.”

Nolan continued, “But I also see… Quentin’s point has always been that — and he never, very graciously, he’s never specific about the films he’s talking about or whatever — but he’s looking at some of the work done by filmmakers in later years and feeling that if it can’t live up to the heyday, it would be better if it didn’t exist. And I think that’s a very purist point of view. It’s the point of view of a cinephile who prizes film history.”

Although Nolan understands where Tarantino is coming from, he’s not sure he entirely agrees. After all, there’s usually at least one element to appreciate in a mixed film from a great director.

“I’m not sure that I would trust my own sense of the absolute value of a piece of work to know whether or not it should have been brought into existence,” Nolan told the “ReelBlend” hosts. “I’m a big fan, as is Quentin, of films that maybe don’t fully achieve what they try to, but there’s something in there that’s a performance, or a little structural thing, or a scene, you know, that’s wonderful. And so, yes, I understand. I think wanted to keep a sort of perfect reputation of something, but also kind of don’t want to take anything off the table.”

Nolan’s take on Tarantino’s retirement differs greatly from their friend and fellow filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson.

“I know Quentin [Tarantino] likes to say, ‘I’m making 10 movies and then I’m quitting.’ But I could never do that,” Anderson said back in 2018. “I don’t know how he could say that, or how he could take himself seriously when he says that. This is what I want to do as long as I’m able to do it. As long as I’m able to do it, I’m going to do it. I think things can become peculiar when directors don’t act their age maybe, or seeing them try to keep up with the kids or trying to be hip. That’s never a good look.”

Nolan’s latest directorial effort, “Oppenheimer,” is his 12th directorial effort. It’s already earning rave first reactions ahead of its theatrical release. “Taxi Driver” writer Paul Schrader even called it the “best” and “most important film of this century.”

“Oppenheimer” opens in theaters July 21 from Universal Pictures.

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