Are you watching Nolan closely?
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''I can't remember to forget you.''
Memento(2000) is deeply psychological, as soon as it starts you can see in between the lines, the stylish layout and the Adult thriller Hitchcock-esque execution, that this is birthed from the mind of Nolan.
So what is the plot that Memento offers us? It consists of an emotional shock that results in unhinged revenge, Leonard Shelby is now piecing back the bits of remembered past? Or is he? Is he alive? If we agree that a person doesn't exist as an entity without memory, existing in a uncanny state of limbo, and that this dead Leonard is watching his life flash by. It is a genius question which for all us deep thinkers allows to theorize on our own conclusions.
As all the pieces start to come together in this jigsaw, at the climax yet in the narrative's ascending beginning, Leonard is denied all the usual action of a hero's benefits and indeed rewards reaped: Increased self-knowledge, knowledge of the world and the plot of occurrences.
He is given the answers at the start yet only remembers the questions. Leonard at the end is a more coherent character than at the beginning.
That being said Memento not only is derived from acclaimed Director Christopher Nolan but also Jonathan Nolan who wrote the short story Memento Mori.
Christopher does the Screenplay which to my opinion holds no faults, it's virtually flawless.
''Never show anyone. They'll beg you and they'll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up... you'll be nothing to them. The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.''
The Prestige(2006) is the film adaptation from Director Christopher Nolan based upon the book by Christopher Priest. The story is simply, diversely about two entertaining magicians whom become friends then later rivals; a friendship that turns to rivalry, a rivalry that turns deadly. Friendly rivalry becomes an obsession. They start to spiral into complexities as their obsessions eclipse and destroy their lives.
Christopher Nolan's The Prestige achieves in bringing to life a dark tale of dueling magicians, cunning betrayals laced with rivalry, magical trickery, all resulting in high quality dazzling entertainment and drenched with darkness and mystery; True to Nolan's style and nature. The Prestige isn't a battle of words, but one of actions and of wit. The film is full of mirroring and doubling, so it's not surprising that the magicians' feud is indeed mirrored by Nikola Tesla's equally dangerous rivalry with Thomas Edison over electricity and science.
Magic, Science and Mystery all merge into a perfect equation for both stories and film-making, in the way the spectacle could almost be an allegory about why we do the things we do to feel complete. Each protagonist is in search of his destiny and achieving aspiring greatness in his craft. Bale has the genius but not the ability to sell his illusions to an audience. Jackman has the showmanship but not the originality to create a truly great trick. In the middle is Michael Caine's engine, the backstage genius with the surprisingly shaky cockney accent, caught somewhere between director and ghost writer in the scheme of things.
Ultimately, it's a film that could be about everything or about absolutely nothing, one that is either led entirely by plot differentiating or one where the themes and storytelling dictate the characters' actions far more than credibility, and where the biggest trick is that ultimately there is no trick. All interpretations seem equally valid, which is part of the fun and puzzlement. The Prestige is a period film with a modern, unique feel that will leave you contemplating, leave you wondering, leave you breathless.
''Now you're looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.''
The Dark Knight (2008)
So 2008 sees the The Dark Knight, from Warner Brothers and once again the directorial genius of Nolan.
David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan collaborated on the story of this film. The script itself was written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan. funnily enough after watching The Dark Knight, Goyer stated "I can't believe my name is on a movie this good".
This time the hype, the anticipation, and the attention has increased a hundred fold since it's predecessor. New cast additions include Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart and the late Heath Ledger, while old veterans return such as Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Micheal Caine and the Dark Knight himself Christian Bale. Obviously the tragic death of Heath Ledger after the completion of the movie warranted alot more attention for viewers due to the complexity of seeing his last performance. However, The Dark Knight is testament to Ledger's legacy, his swan song, his immortal role among many chameleonic characters in his resume. His roles in Brokeback Mountain, Candy, showed his adult raw talent for tackling sensitive controversial material, while A Knight's Tale, The Patriot and 10 things I hate about you showed he could entertain and be charming. So with The Dark Knight we witness his best film to date, his guaranteed Academy Award grabbing carnation of the maniacal nemesis of batman, The Joker.
Brilliant scores by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer. In fact the scores could be two new characters in the film in the sense of depth and emotion they stitch together with the powerful resonance in the scenes. The chase where Batman first uses his Bat-pod bike is nerve tinglingly delivered thanks to the effective use of musical genius and poignant sound. The movies climax and final scenes elevate The Dark Knight's soul into the heavens, creating a moving, emotional, turbulent, deep message of honour, sacrifice and themes of the greater good. Batman isn't the hero we deserve, he's whatever we need him to be...He's strong, he can take it...and as we hear deep words like this, the tones in the score give the words even more power. A power they deserve.
Overall The Dark Knight rightly received 8 Academy Award nominations, more than any other film based on a comic book, comic strip, or graphic novel. First film based on a comic book, comic strip, or graphic novel to win an Academy Award for acting (Best Supporting Actor).
The Dark Knight was everything I expected it to be and even more so in places, it's certainly the dark masterpiece I predicted, but I do get the feeling that it's been overly hyped for the wrong reasons. See it not just for Heath's performance which is defining and immortalized, but also see it because Dark Knight is the greatest comic book/graphic novel to movie ever. DC comics & Warner Bros. must be singing and praising Nolan a hundred fold.
Dark Knight really does have the last laugh. An astonishing achievement that really does succeed in redefining sequels and graphic novel comic book adaptations.
''Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.''
''What's the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from a human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and re-write all the rules. Which is why... I have to steal it!''
Best friends work together as aspiring young architects on the rise, their relationship complicated by a recent inception. Corporations have developed a technology to enter dreams to extract information from certain peoples' heads. A CEO (Leonardo DiCaprio) enters dreams and things begin to escalate.
The latest project from Christopher Nolan with cast members Leonardo Dicaprio, Ken Watanabe (reunited from Batman Begins with Nolan).
Dreams within dreams...Inception
Batman Begins (2005)
''You traveled the world... Now you must journey inwards... to what you really fear... it's inside you... there is no turning back. Your parents' death was not your fault. Your training is nothing. The will to act is everything. If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely...Are you ready to begin?''
Batman Begins(2005) helmed by 21st Century Hitchcock-esque English Director Christopher Nolan, has more than proved he can deliver a dark and gritty Batman film without resorting to unrealistic qualms.
Nolan gives us a gritty city with rain drenched slums that echo Ridley Scott's Bladerunner, and he makes it dark enough to be captivating, mysterious and yet strong, seductive and oozing style and intelligence without making it look unnatural. Gotham City is supposed to be ugly and decayed, a virtual urban cesspool of crime, and a nightmarish realization of corruption and fear.
''Only a cynical man would call what these people have "lives," Wayne. Crime. Despair. This was not how man was supposed to live. The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats. Burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, we return to restore the balance.''
"Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries. Gotham... must be destroyed."
This is a film that should shatter the preconceptions the inferior films left behind.
Batman Begins delivers an intelligent mature plot (which easily comes straight of the pages) which involved three villains; Ra's Al Ghul, Carmine Falcone, and Scarecrow, and then balances them perfectly keeping everything in the realm of believability. Bad guys shouldn't be scheming one dimensional stereotypes, they should be real people with real agendas and real goals. It's the first film to understand the psychology of Batman. It's adult, without being imprisoned, it's entertaining, without being mindless, it's visually stunning without being unrealistic, and finally the performances give life to everything mentioned prior.
When we are faced with a story, a film which deals with loss, love, revolution, family, revenge, justice, friendship, learning... A scene between mentor and pupil sticks in the mind because I certainly can relate to having lost someone or something in my own life. It is powerful in the sense that we face a society and world in which nothing is certain. We have the challenge of finding those with honour, dignity and respect whom wish to fight for a way of life free from corruption and criminality. When your home or love is taken away there is often an unrelenting thirst for vengeance and to fight the very enemy and source that was responsible:
Henri Ducard: You're stronger than your father.
Bruce Wayne: You didn't know my father.
Henri Ducard: But I know the rage that drives you. That impossible anger strangling the grief, until the memory of your loved ones is just poison in your veins. And one day you catch yourself wishing the person you loved had never existed, so you'd be spared your pain. I wasn't always here in the mountains. Once I had a wife, my great love. She was taken from me. Like you, I was forced to learn that there are those without decency that must be fought without hesitation, without pity. Your anger gives you great power, but if you let it, it will destroy you, as it almost did me.
Bruce Wayne: What stopped it?
Henri Ducard: Vengeance.
Batman Begins true to Nolan gives a twist in the guise of enigmatic great leader Ra's Al Ghul. One of the deepest Batman characters to be captured upon the screen rivaling and shadowing even the intelligence or logical chaos of The Penguin or The Riddler.
So a new beginning for Batman and also a deep study into the realms and intricacies of fear in which the story and screenplay revolves around.
''It's not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.''
''You don't get it do you? You're my job. You're what I'm paid to do. You're about as mysterious to me as a blocked toilet is to a fucking plumber. Reasons for doing what you did? Who gives a fuck?''
A remake by Hitchcock-esque Chris Nolan. Haven't seen the Norwegian 1997 version but Nolan's version without a doubt is a masterpiece.
Let's begin by saying having witnessed the genius of his first creation ''Memento'', Insomnia is evidence it wasn't a one off. Skilled Nolan has made one hell of a thriller which is slick, intelligent, mesmerizing and then some!
In retrospective, Insomnia's pace is a mixture of acceleration and drifting depending on what is happening in the thrilling plot. Let's also mention it's a remake of a Norwegian thriller done in 1997, which Nolan gives his own unique perspective and spin on. Tragedy laced with a psychological struggle, where Cop and killer are pitted against each other. The killer having the advantage of a tormented, sleep deprived, guilt ridden Nemesis to take advantage of. Like Nolan's other tasty offerings Insomnia is one to watch again and again.
''Let me sleep.''
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
"I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss. I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy. I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."
The trader states, "This is a stock exchange. There's no money for you to steal!"
While Bane coolly, resolutely responds, "Brother. Then why are you people here?"
The beauty is we can relate to many of the issues and problems within the story and this complex reality mirroring our own.
The Dark Knight Rises from legendary visionary Christopher Nolan succeeds in being a multifaceted epic piece which isn't just a dark, gritty graphic novel in the same vein as Frank Miller's books. It is a reminder about the problems we face in our World ranging from class struggle, greed and money, economics, politics... while the innocent are tainted by these factors with the label: Criminality... Then how we live our lives is ultimately engulfed within lies and decadence that surmount to our system of bondage. Truth is sacrificed because it is easier and cleaner to live a lie. The Batman has become the true vigilante because he wants Gotham to survive, he chooses the lesser of two evils... But The Dark Knight Rises asks us: At what cost?
''When I started to follow people, specific people, when I selected a person to follow, that's when the trouble started.''