Skip to main content

For Your Consideration: Christopher Nolan


Until recently, capes and cowls were a less respected director's game. Flops like The Shadow and Batman and Robin had made it almost impossible for an A-list auteur to get withing a hundred feet of the genre. Then Sam Raimi and Bryan Singer took Spider-man and X-Men to unparalleled heights. Perhaps it was just the matter of getting the right person behind the lens.

After Warner Bros. chose him to take over the rebooting of their biggest icon, Christopher Nolan rewarded them by turning in two of the greatest comic book films of all-time. The problem that faced him afterward: ending the series on a high-note.

Nolan took all of life's anxieties and placed them in front of our eyes. A terrorist attack on a football stadium, financial market takeover, plane hijackings, nuclear weapons. The escapism of one of pop culture's biggest icons was thrown out the window. Every moral and social ill reflected on an eighty foot screen.

Similar to Peter Jackson's careful crafting in bringing an epic trilogy to a close, Mr. Nolan left nothing on the table and set upon leaving a legacy as large as the shadow Batman casts over Gotham. The Dark Knight Rises may not be the film that The Dark Knight was, overzealous marketing hyped the conclusion to a fever-pitch with almost unbearable standards to live up to. Still, that didn't stop him from amping the scale of the film up to 11. His handling of the IMAX footage created easily some of the most jaw-dropping shots of the entire year.

The Academy's snub of both Nolan and The Dark Knight in 2008 led to the rule named after the director that created for more than five films to be nominated for Best Picture. Whether or not they will see fit to reward Mr. Nolan or The Dark Knight Rises has yet to be seen. There is little word in awards races, but the AFI did include the film in its top ten films of 2012. A sign of things to come, or a casual nod to a picture that has gone overlooked? A January morning will have to tell.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Review: Selma

It may surprise many that Martin Luther King Jr. never received the celluloid treatment prior to Selma. Sure he had been mentioned in other historical pieces, but short of documentary footage, King was never given center stage. Quite shocking given the man's legacy and the lingering effect of his efforts still felt today. Several years of production and a director change later, Selma arrives as the film worthy of the man.

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…