Profile: Christopher Nolan, director The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Jonathan James Nolan is an award-winning filmmaker who has been recognized for his work as a director and screenwriter. Nolan began making movies at an early age with his father’s Super-8mm camera. While studying English Literature at University College London, Nolan shot 16mm films at UCL’s film society, learning the guerrilla film techniques he would later use to make his first feature Following. The ‘no-budget’ noir thriller enjoyed great success at a number of international film festivals, including Toronto, Rotterdam, Slam-dance, and Hong Kong prior to being released in the US, UK, France, and other various territories.
Nolan’s second film was was the low-budget independent feature Memento, starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Ann Moss and Joe Pantoliano, which Nolan directed from his own screenplay, based on a short story by his brother Jonathan. The film brought Nolan numerous honors, including Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay, two Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay, and a Directors Guild of America Award nomination. In addition, he won Best Screenplay Awards from several critics groups, including the Los Angeles, London, Chicago and Broadcast Film Critics Associations, as well as the American Film Institute’s Screenwriter of the Year Award, and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.
Nolan followed Memento with the critically acclaimed psychological thriller Insomnia, starring Academy Award winners Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. For that film, Nolan won the London Critics Circle Award for Best Director of the Year.
In 2005, Nolan co-wrote and directed Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. The blockbuster reimagined the Batman film franchise, pleasing critics and fans alike and paving the way for The Dark Knight.
Before returning to the Batman franchise, Nolan directed, co-wrote and produced the mystery thriller The Prestige, starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson and Michael Caine. Empire Magazine named Nolan the Best Director of the Year for the film, which also received Oscar nominations for its extraordinary art direction and cinematography.
In 2008, Nolan returned to the “caped crusader” series with The Dark Knight. It debuted in the summer of that year breaking box-office records left and right. It eventually went on to become the second highest grossing film ever domestically, and racked up massive billion plus dollars worldwide. It was also a huge critical success, placing on many Top Ten lists that year, as well as earning 8 Oscar nominations and 2 wins, including the late Heath Ledger’s now legendary performance as The Joker.
Nolan started working on his 7th full-length feature film, Inception, in the summer of 2009. The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, and many others. It opened in July of 2010 with wide critical and commercial success. It ended the year as one of the highest grossing films of 2010, and as so far earned 4 Golden Globe nominations. It is expected to receive recognition at the upcoming Academy Awards.
In 2011, Nolan will begin production on his third and final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Christian Bale, Michael Cane, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are slated to return. Tom Hardy, who starred in Inception, will join the cast. The Dark Knight Rises is planned for release on July 20, 2012.
- Frequently introduces his main characters with a close up of their hands performing an action.
- Usually starts films with a flashback or a scene from the end of the movie.
- When shooting a dialogue scene, the actors are often framed in wide close-up with a shallow depth of field to blur out the background.
- Frequently uses hard cuts when transitioning to the next scenes. This is most prominent in his films from ‘Batman Begins’ onward, especially in ‘The Dark Knight’, where, in some instances, the hard cuts he uses will go so far as to nearly cut off character’s lines in order to quickly and efficiently get to the next scene.
- Uses camera revolving around a character. (The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Memento and Inception)
- Displays the title before the end credits (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception)
- Films contain blackmail, attempted blackmail or a reference to blackmail.
- Films frequently center on a main character driven by an obsession.
San Jose Mercury News (USA)
7 July 2008, by: David M. Halbfinger, “Batman is No Laughing Matter to Hands-on Director Nolan”
The New York Times (USA)
9 March 2008, Vol. 157, Iss. 54,244, pg. AR1 & AR16, by: David M. Halbfinger, “Batman’s Burden: A Director Confronts Darkness and Death”
MovieScope Magazine (UK)
September 2008, Vol. 2, Iss. 3, pg. 26-29, by: Will Lawrence, “Nolan, Bale and The Dark Knight”
The Daily Telegraph (UK)
11 July 2008, by: John Hiscock, “Why Heath Ledger will blow us away in The Dark Knight”
July 2008, Iss. 367, pg. 18-21, by: Kim Howard Johnson, “Shadow of the Bat”
2 May 2007, Iss. 06/2007, pg. 54, by: Thomas Raab, “Es gehört sehr viel Hingabe dazu”
Entertainment Weekly (USA)
27 October 2006, Vol. 1, Iss. 904, pg. 14, by: Jeff Jensen, “”The Magic Man””
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