Occupation: Director, writer, producer
Born: July 30th, 1970
Nationality: British (UK)
Works: The Dark Knight trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises), Memento, Following, Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception
Christopher Nolan throughout his career has tirelessly worked to re-create the idea of authorship. His modern and expansive cinematic scope in every frame has proven his worth as one of the most influential and popular directors in modern cinema. Nolan, along with his brother and writing partner Jonathan, continually strive to break the bonds of modern Hollywood cinema, with The Dark Knight and Inception instantly considered to be modern masterpieces. His unique abilities with cinematography and stunt sequences prove the existence of artistic vision within modern action cinema.
In his interpretation of the Batman legend, his penchant for creating an aura of realism out of fantastical elements has created a gritty, terrifying yet culturally relevant depiction of a famously fantastical character. Nolan’s control over his works is proven in his militarised origin story and development of believable cult figures. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight have taken Bruce Wayne, an arrogant yet determined warrior, and built him into a cunning, fearless and selfless saviour of Gotham. Batman’s universe (dubbed the ’Nolanverse’ due to his intelligent style) is a gravely sombre yet recognisable scene of post 9/11 threats and heroes developing a desire to protect those to need them. Nolan Creates a realistic universe out of beautiful yet haunting locations such as the maze-like structure of Chicago city streets, intricate photo realistic sets and alluring perspective tricks through miniature cityscapes.
His use of realism in film-making has created an authenticity rarely seen in the era of digital/blue- screen technology. Creating action set pieces through stunt work and elaborate, story-boarded set pieces, the creation of sequences such as the rotating hotel ceiling fight in Inception and the truck chase/flip through Gotham streets in The Dark Knight are developed with a seamless visceral quality not explored since the renaissance of practical effects in the 1960’s/70’s/80’s with gripping formalist cinema such Alien/Aliens, The Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Fly. His maze-like structures and other symbolic/visual elements reflect the intricacies of his eye for ground-breaking elements of film production. The idea of several layers inside the subconscious mind is an intricate and stylish concept explored through heist, film noir and chase film elements. The art-deco style created in each layer of Nolan’s visual splendour involves a strict use of smooth colour patterns/tones, symmetry and the composition of important symbolic foreground and background elements; creating multiple dimensions through the intricacies of multi-layered city streets and skyscrapers.
Trademarks: Epic scopes, writes with brother Jonathan Nolan, recurring cast members, non-linear timelines
Nolan & Christian Bale (The Prestige).
His use of symbolism to illustrate an important and original narrative structure can be seen in his first studio feature Memento, a thought-provoking thriller executed with complexity and based on Jonathan Nolan’s short story. Photographs and tattoos, illustrating Guy Pearce’s path through a decaying life of short term amnesia, symbolise his determination in tracing his forgotten steps, hoping to find his wife’s murderer. Whether it’s one man battling the villainy of a post 9/11 criminal world, Leo DiCaprio struggling to expel his love from professional duties inside his fractured subconscious, Al Pacino’s erratic mind due to his condition in Insomnia and an attraction to stalking people on the street in Following, Nolan uses his expansive scope to illustrate the gravity of his characters’ disturbed situations. His non-linear storytelling and cross-cutting create a contrast between multiple realities and the conflicting subconscious; illustrated by the rivalry between Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige, building throughout this story of the dangerously competitive nature of human beings.
Thematic, visual and symbolic relevance in film and popular culture has classified Nolan as one of the defying film-makers of this generation. Whether its the electrifying illusion of the transported man, a slowly developing superhero/vigilante origin story or Heath Ledger’s Oscar worthy portrayal of the Joker, Nolan has given birth to many authentic and thought provoking examples of ingenuity in modern cinema.