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September 18, 2012

Men We Love: Christopher Nolan

The “intelligent action film” used to be a paradox. A misnomer. Even a contradiction. But since Christopher Nolan entered the main stage with the mind-bending Memento (2000), he has consistently produced popcorn fare that straps the senses and the mind into a wild ride that doesn’t let go, even after the credits roll. Just remember the top spinning at the end of Inception. How many arguments did that spark among viewers?


Nolan grew up bi-coastal, in London and Chicago, to an English advertising copywriter father and an American flight attendant mother. He first started making Super 8 films at age seven. After studying film in college, he made several short films that gained notice, including “Tarantella” and “Doodlebug” (the latter is embedded below). From the start, Nolan was very involved in all aspects of the filmmaking process: writing, directing, shooting, and editing the films himself. He often collaborates with brother Jonathan Nolan on the scripts and is married to producer Emma Thomas, who has produced all of his features.

From the devastatingly twisted The Prestige (2006), onto the confounding Inception (2010), and continuing through the Batman series with this year’s blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan has consistently created intriguing films filled with action, thrills, and suspense while remaining truly grounded in the character’s journey. The films are entertaining and accessible, engaging with audiences as soon as the lights dim.

Nolan is only the second director to have two films gross over $2 billion worldwide. (James Cameron is the first.) Nolan’s formula is, of course, a good script. Next, great casting. The director has worked with Michael Caine five consecutive times and works with many actors, including Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, again and again. Nolan also collaborates with a first-rate crew, including Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer and cinematographer Wally Pfister, who won the Academy Award for Inception. Nolan prefers tried-and-true production methods, including shooting on film and using practical effects, minimizing the use of CGI. He also prefers to exhibit the spectacular visuals in IMAX over the trendy 3D. It is for all of these reasons that Limité recognizes Christopher Nolan as someone of whom we just can’t get enough.

posted by: Stephanie Dawson
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