Monday, 19 July 2010

The One Where I Fall In Love With Chris Nolan

"A Real Magician Tries To Create Something New"

Chris Nolan doesn't seem to think like you or I.

His body of work is now reading like a masterclass in crafting stories. He doesn't pander to audiences. He treats them with respect. He works with great actors. He surrounds himself with Hans Zimmer. He wants to tell stories.

The one everyone goes to is The Dark Knight.

Weirdly, as an avid Batman fan, that film has been a grower. I felt a bit empty when I first saw it with The Ledgers, at the flicks. I'm not sure if it was everyone banging on about it, or the fact, that like Spiderman 3 (OK, bit harsh), it bit off more than it could chew. The story that interested me most was Harvey Dent, and they never pushed that enough for me. I totally get that if you focus on HD, you lose The Joker... I get that. I also get the irony in that, no Joker, no Ledgers... so, it's tricky.

Inception the other night may make me appreciate TDK more, actually. I was expecting huge, HUGE, set pieces, and they never really come. In TDK, my one major geek moment was the Batpod ejecting. I punched the air in the cinema. Maybe made a little sex noise.

Just brilliant. But where is the spectacle? Where is the Batwing crashing into Gotham Cathedral? It's not there. And I fail to believe everyone got that. Got that this was a character piece. No way. TDK was the best/worse example since Shawshank of people being sheep. The fact it got to over One Billion Bucks is ludicrous, really.

My concerns about Inception are two fold.

One... Everyone becomes Shawshank Sheep. Not because they love the film, or the ideas, but because they feel like they have too. Then, in a pub conversation, they go blank.

My other concern is there is a backlash. Nolan hate. A bit like happened to James "Call Me Jim" Cameron, after Titanic, and Avatar. It became cool to love to hate him. Even though he was making films that got people back into cinemas.

The thing I love about Nolan is his "One For You, One For Me" philosophy. In amongst Batman Begins, TDK, and now Inception... there are smaller films. Memento is brilliant.

I remember watching it with Mrs T, and our heads spinning. Then, as an extra on the DVD, they had the whole film in chronological order. Ha. What next? Sixth Sense with little arrows (#ArrowClub), pointing at clues on screen?

Insomnia? Vastly underrated. I don'y get the lack of love for that one. I hate Robin Williams. Literally hate him. He's class in that. Pacino is a Legend, but what better film has he made than that in the last ten (eleven) years? Exactly.

Prestige? Wonderful little film. So Nolan in hindsight. Watch it again, and his trademarks are stamped all over it. I love it. Again, "unique", and thoughtful.

But a word of warning, (and yeah I'm looking at you @DomCoke, so wake up!), Inception is "guilty" of similar "faults". The film is based around an idea. There is trickery.

The key to enjoying a Nolan film, is to realise that everything is there to service the story. There are no tricks, or gimmicks, just for the sake of it.

Nolan is too smart for that. He doesn't think like you or I.