Nolan's Trademarks

The Oscar Nominated writer and director to whom this site is dedicated.
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I agree, completely fantastic post mate.

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Nolan always kills his lead male roles loved ones. mostly wives.
Following ..................... (The Man, Blonde)
Memento ..................... (Leonard, Wife)
The Presige................... (Angier, Julia)
The Presige................... (Borden, Sarah)
The Dark Knight.............. (Bruce, Rachel)
Inception...................... (Cobb, Mal)

Nolan also had two things in common with Pixar. he never made a bad movie and he never made a film with a female lead role.£

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Eternalist wrote:
filmfanatic wrote:It is the major focus of my book on Nolan that is near completion.
Whoa! You're writing a book on Christopher Nolan? Amazing! Best of luck!
I would have waited 20 more years before writing one. Nolan is still evolving as a filmmaker and already he is getting a book written about himself? Kinda fanboi nutty. But I don't oppose.

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I think that a major trademark in the films is the reinvention of reality. I haven't seen Following (planning to watch it soon) but my hypothesis works for the rest of the films, as follows -

Memento - Guy Pearce's character, having chronic amnesia, persistently has to keep notes and pictures of his activities and circumstances - these are his reality. But he records only what he feels is necessary to record, something that changes as time progresses. His handle on the nature of the world is governed by these highly fallible and subjective scribblings. Choice in what he deems to be real is also of significance - some things he wants to keep as part of his reality he cannot, so he has no choice, but other things he can choose to remember or forget. In some ways he had more choice on what reality would be than people without amnesia, in other ways he had very little control. The film itself is a reinvention of reality - it distorts the timeline to force the audience to question the reality, the truth, of the information they are given.

Insomnia - This can in many ways be seen as the opposite of Memento. In sleep we can process the information of the day and to some extent start afresh the next day. Sleep is a process of closing off and of forgetting. In Insomnia reality imposes itself upon the lead character - he cannot shut off the past and the overpowering trauma that came with it, just as he cannot shut out the light. The nature of his reality is more intense than it might otherwise be. He cannot move on if the reality of the moment has no clear finite end. Reality cannot be reinvented - he is trapped in the blinding notion of his own helplessness, in the face of his seemingly fixed and unchangeable environment.

The Prestige - There is no question that reality is reinvented here. Illusion and deceit are all part of their everyday lives. People want to be fooled. They want to see the nature of their reality is transformed. But sometimes what we take for granted is illusion is actually more like reality beyond imagining...

Batman Begins - The reason that this version of Batman has been so wildly popular and successful is that, unlike any other superhero movie before it, the desire behind the film was to make the characters and their activities wholly credible. Other films like Tim Burton's Batman, the Superman films, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, these all asked the audience to suspend disbelief. But what worked so well with Batman Begins is that, given the right circumstances, all of what transpired could very well have happened in the real world. There are psychotropic drugs, cult organisations and rich playboys with secret lives within our own decadent western civilisation. But it is not only in the style of the film that reality is reinvented. Bruce Wayne uses his own theatricality to make solid, make real, the philosophy of turning fear against itself. The bat is a symbol but it has a very physical impact, what Batman represents and what he is in reality cannot be separated. He wants to transform reality for the better - he wants to inspire people to create rather than destroy, in other words to take control of their reality.

The Dark Knight - Here the nature of reinvention is questioned. The joker reinvents himself with every tale he tells whereas those that attempt to mimic batman are the least in control of reinventing their lives. Their flaws lie in their lack of imagination - which is the key to their downfall as they are unable to see the full consequences of their decisions. Bruce says that it isn't what he meant when he said he wanted to inspire people. Also the joker wants to show people how little they are in control of their own lives, whereas Batman wants to give people more control, the power to change the reality of their own circumstances. In idolising Harvey Dent he is attempting to show people how this can be done.

Inception - Leo DiCaprio's character reinvents his own world in his dreams with Marion Cotillard. He attempts and succeeds in getting her to believe the dreamworld is real and the real world is a dream. Nuff said.

Sorry to bang on - got carried away - but I really think I'm on to something here. Let me know your thoughts...

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I think one of Nolan's trademarks is making epic films. Am I right?

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That is the one remarkable trademark. I just gotta wonder when he will fail.
So...do you ever think he will?

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1- The Psychologic theme and feeling to the movie. It makes you think unlike most movies when you can guess what is going to happen next.
2- Showing one of the last scenes as the first, Michael Caine, and a Pyschological Thriller kind of movie.

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Trademark: Men, and the Important Women in their Lives

I truly feel that Nolan is a man's director (not saying that women won't understand his films). Now before you jump down my throat, hear me out.

Nolan's main characters are always very driven and determined men (yes it would be great if he has a women as the main some time). People say Fight Club made a commentary on the modern man, well I feel like Nolan's films do the same thing. They are men who represent what men need to do and men need to be at their very core: motivated and determined. These aren't stereotypical macho dudes with bulging muscles, backwards caps, sunglasses from 2002, and an attitude that says "fuck you." These characters are individuals with (although flawed morals) some sense of morality.

What's also great is that Nolan places a very, very huge emphasis on how men are affected by the women in their lives:

1. Following: A woman the main character trusts is deceptive
2. Memento: Leonard wants revenge for his wife's supposed murder, Natalie helps Leonard but is also deceptive
3. Insomnia: Dormer has an affect on Burr because he acts as her mentor in a way, Burr represents the purity and altruism of real justice and at the end of the film Dormer does not want her to ruin that
4. Batman films: Bruce's motivation to protect Rachel as well as give up his crime-fighting in order to be with her. I think Cotillard's character in TDKR will also have a HUGE affect on Bruce
5. The Prestige: Death of Angier's wife, deceptive nature of Olivia, the truthful and loving nature of Sarah
6. Inception: Mal was someone Cobb loved, and now she haunts him in his dreams, Ariadne serves as a way for Cobb to confront his own flaws

I think this is telling of a few things:

- first, that being a man, at the core, is defined by what he does and his determination to do it
- second, that women are very important in the life of a man
- third, that all together, the women in Nolan's films represent important characteristics in a woman
- and finally, that Nolan loves Emma like HELL

On a personal level, realizing this theme in Nolan's films has helped me respect my girlfriend a lot more. I think this has really helped me understand, if we choose to stay together for the rest of our lives, how important an influence a woman will have on my life. I know some may think it hilarious that I learn this from a movie, but hey, film is a meaningful artform, so why not?
If she plays cranium she gives good brainium.

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That poster pixie should read this who criticizes Nolan for slighting women in his films. Being a man himself, a married one deeply in love with his wife, naturally he writes about the fear of losing her, and how essential these women are in their lives.

Still, nearly all of his films have this theme of justified dishonesty, which points to a contextual reasonability in the context of ethics, and that idea is personified in The Dark Knight with Batman's moral code challenged as it was Challenging stuff.

Of course, this is all stuff we've talked about before, but it's always interesting for me to revisit it, and in a big way that may be what draws me to Nolan, his ideas just sort of ensnare you, grab hold, and just don't ever quite let go.

-Vader

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misterseashells wrote:I think that a major trademark in the films is the reinvention of reality. I haven't seen Following (planning to watch it soon) but my hypothesis works for the rest of the films, as follows -

Memento - Guy Pearce's character, having chronic amnesia, persistently has to keep notes and pictures of his activities and circumstances - these are his reality. But he records only what he feels is necessary to record, something that changes as time progresses. His handle on the nature of the world is governed by these highly fallible and subjective scribblings. Choice in what he deems to be real is also of significance - some things he wants to keep as part of his reality he cannot, so he has no choice, but other things he can choose to remember or forget. In some ways he had more choice on what reality would be than people without amnesia, in other ways he had very little control. The film itself is a reinvention of reality - it distorts the timeline to force the audience to question the reality, the truth, of the information they are given.

Insomnia - This can in many ways be seen as the opposite of Memento. In sleep we can process the information of the day and to some extent start afresh the next day. Sleep is a process of closing off and of forgetting. In Insomnia reality imposes itself upon the lead character - he cannot shut off the past and the overpowering trauma that came with it, just as he cannot shut out the light. The nature of his reality is more intense than it might otherwise be. He cannot move on if the reality of the moment has no clear finite end. Reality cannot be reinvented - he is trapped in the blinding notion of his own helplessness, in the face of his seemingly fixed and unchangeable environment.

The Prestige - There is no question that reality is reinvented here. Illusion and deceit are all part of their everyday lives. People want to be fooled. They want to see the nature of their reality is transformed. But sometimes what we take for granted is illusion is actually more like reality beyond imagining...

Batman Begins - The reason that this version of Batman has been so wildly popular and successful is that, unlike any other superhero movie before it, the desire behind the film was to make the characters and their activities wholly credible. Other films like Tim Burton's Batman, the Superman films, Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, these all asked the audience to suspend disbelief. But what worked so well with Batman Begins is that, given the right circumstances, all of what transpired could very well have happened in the real world. There are psychotropic drugs, cult organisations and rich playboys with secret lives within our own decadent western civilisation. But it is not only in the style of the film that reality is reinvented. Bruce Wayne uses his own theatricality to make solid, make real, the philosophy of turning fear against itself. The bat is a symbol but it has a very physical impact, what Batman represents and what he is in reality cannot be separated. He wants to transform reality for the better - he wants to inspire people to create rather than destroy, in other words to take control of their reality.

The Dark Knight - Here the nature of reinvention is questioned. The joker reinvents himself with every tale he tells whereas those that attempt to mimic batman are the least in control of reinventing their lives. Their flaws lie in their lack of imagination - which is the key to their downfall as they are unable to see the full consequences of their decisions. Bruce says that it isn't what he meant when he said he wanted to inspire people. Also the joker wants to show people how little they are in control of their own lives, whereas Batman wants to give people more control, the power to change the reality of their own circumstances. In idolising Harvey Dent he is attempting to show people how this can be done.

Inception - Leo DiCaprio's character reinvents his own world in his dreams with Marion Cotillard. He attempts and succeeds in getting her to believe the dreamworld is real and the real world is a dream. Nuff said.

Sorry to bang on - got carried away - but I really think I'm on to something here. Let me know your thoughts...
I love this! The re-invention of reality is a great way of describing the themes of his films.

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