Sean as a filmmaker. Nolan was born
Sean Weitzel Professor Howell ENG 267 September 27, 2011 Writer/Director Study Some filmmakers know exactly the right formula to create intriguing themes and subtle subliminal progression in their audience’s mind. Christopher Nolan just happens to be one of those filmmakers. His style is not merely traditional cinema; rather Nolan draws his viewers in by producing what feels like a renaissance of tried and true cinematic conventions. Described as ‘meta-noir’ by many film critics and showing the film world a glimpse into postmodernism, the stories are intellectually deep, and approach modern thoughts from a new angle.Nolan’s innovations in filmmaking, writing, and his overall signature as a auteur nominate him as one who stands out in the crowd in the realm of movie storytelling.
Chris’ first major debut (excluding short projects, and corporate training videos) Following was shot on in his spare time, Saturdays mostly. The idea was inspired by actual events; his home in London was broken into and it made him curious about the burglar must have thought of Nolan’s own life. From that idea comes the plot for Following (Buchanan).Nolan seems to be telling the audience that despite all of our modern privacy and data security, someone will always be able to gain access to your most intimate moments and things if they so desire.
The Following cast was comprised of Nolan’s friends and associates. Rigorous rehearsal was paramount, with the intention of only one or two takes at most required for a scene. Taking over a year to complete, Following was designed to be as low budget as possible.
The only real expense was the 16mm roll that Nolan himself purchased (Lahiri).A mere six thousands dollars was the final cost, and filmed was premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival in 1998. His attitude towards Following shows incredible drive and determination as a young filmmaker.
Nolan was patient, had everything planned to a tee, and he saw the vision and direction in which he wanted the film to go from the very beginning. If we look back a few years, the same structure however was not applied to his career as a filmmaker. Nolan was born in London in 1970. His mother was an American flight attendant and his father, an advertising copywriter (Quinn).It is said that he began his adventure in film experimenting with his father’s camera at the age of 7, aided only by his toy soldiers and creativeness (Buchanan). Nolan has no professional movie oriented education.
He attended University College London and studied English Literature, and eventually majoring in literature. Although he studied english at UCL, he spent a generous amount of time experimenting and learning in their state of the art recording studio. He married his longtime girlfriend, Emma Thomas, who is coincidentally his longtime producer in 1997.
Nolan’s movies do in fact portray many themes and conventions from a postmodernistic angle, putting a slight angle on a traditional conventions. A most recent example can be seen in The Dark Knight. Of course we have antagonist, The Joker, who’s sole goal is to cause havoc in Gotham City and show them that their hero, Batman is not a perfect flawless soul as they had previously held true.
Batman is for the most part a good guy, but his internal struggle between fear, personal life, and fighting the criminal underworld consumes him.Enter Harvey Dent, District Attorney of Gotham whom the Joker sees as a perfect target to break down a virtuous person, reforge a villain, and let him do whatever he must for vengeance. Nolan is clearly painting a picture that everyone, even our heroes have experienced psychological trauma and have ‘skeletons in their closet’ so to speak. A little morbid, but this is interesting in light of the events that followed production of (and may have been present during) the film, specifically Heath Ledger’s death which was attributed to an overdose/ abuse of pharmaceuticals.In TDK, the city and many of the movies main characters suffer as a result of not banding together and facing the villain head on. Instead the Joker is able to separate and diffuse their abilities and strengths to their downfall. Harvey, Rachel, the Judge, Commissioner Gordon, and a few others are all persecuted for standing up for what is real justice in Gotham.
An idea is proposed here that if you stand up for what is right and just, you may be victimized.Gotham people all turn their attention towards Batman when towards the end, the Joker demands that they hand him over. On the ferry scene, both groups choose to do the morally correct thing and not pull the bomb detonators. This results in all their lives being spared. If they had all just worked together and focused solely on stopping the Joker, they may have prevailed.
Subtly this says “United we stand, divided we fall”. Influences are always quite telling about where the creators mind was and likely still leans to, so let us examine Nolan’s.He considers Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott as two major influences, noting 2001: A Space Odyssey as one of his favorite movies of all times (IMDB). Both Kubrick and Scott were visionaries in their time and amassed a cult following. A similarity between his influences and his own work can be seen in the dark, mentally paralyzing stories and non linear timelines Nolan crafts.
Both Following and Memento, two of his most well respected films have disrupted timelines. Why is this important?Maybe to keep the audience on their toes, maybe to represent his split childhood and jumping across the Atlantic to a new life every so often. Allegedly this idea came from a novel, Graham Swift’s “Waterland” (Buchanan).
A trademark of Nolan’s is a lonely troubled protagonist who must hide their identity from the world, and at the end of the movie will give a philosophical monologue (IMDB). In addition, his protagonists will usually be let down or betrayed by their mentor or ally throughout the course of the story (IMDB).Possibly Nolan was betrayed by a former lover or his brother (Jonathan) always picked on him, or maybe he just likes to do that in his movies for no particular reason. Some people have found a degree of parallelism between the Nolan’s revival of the Batman franchise and George Bush’s presidency.
For instance in TDK Bruce Wayne (read: Bush) creates a supercomputer (Patriot Act) that allows him to spy on all Gotham’s inhabitants in hopes of aiding him to find the Joker (stop terrorism/Osama). The Joker is described as an agent of terror who’s “got no rules” and no morals (John, VS).The Joker (terrorism) pushes the citizens to practically become villains themselves and kill one of their own, and eventually turn against the batman himself (Bush). In the end, the unsung hero is of course Batman. “The point the film makes, the really surprising, insightful and interesting point, is that Batman can save the day not by being the beloved hero but by being the scapegoat, i. e. the villain to all but a handful who know better.
This, the film suggests, is the greatest sacrifice one can make for others short of death itself. (John VS) Following concludes with the protagonist guilty for crimes he did not commit, Memento ends with Leonard realizing his life has been looped and his ally Teddy is a villain, Batman Begins ends with Liam Neeson betraying him, and the same holds true for The Dark Knight. Clearly betrayal, revenge, and redemption are common themes in Nolan’s work; emotions that nearly everyone has dealt with at some time in their life.
Maybe this is how he plans to create a larger audience that can really connect with the characters.Keen is Nolan’s ability to touch on a varying number of emotions from confusion in Memento and Following, to sadness, fear and loss in Inception and the Batman trilogy. The large majority of Chris’ work has been both reviewed and accepted favorably; Memento and Following in particular. Memento is a movie that gives the impression that no matter who you were in the past, who you are now, or who you may be in the future, that collective person is who you are at all times; that we are the collection of our experiences.Taking the reigns of a franchise that has been beaten into the ground, Nolan hopes to breathe new life into the Superman franchise with Man of Steel in 2013. Albeit, he is only writing the upcoming comic book film, but this will be his next chance to shine following the release of The Dark Knight Rises next summer. Chris Nolan has shown us from his brief career that he has what it takes to take the cinema world by storm.
His team of actors he works with is too strong, the level of producers and purpose in his movies are frontrunners for cinema of tomorrow.Having written/directed in roughly 15 projects and being partially involved in 32 other projects (IMDB), his style and movies have much room to grow and a blossoming career is what we can expect from Nolan in the near future. Works Cited Buchanan, Jason. “Christopher Nolan.
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Quinn, Karl. “Can’t Get Him out of Our Heads. ” The Age – Business, World & Breaking News | Melbourne, Australia. Fairfax Digital, 8 Sept. 2002.
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