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Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan headshot


Date of Birth:30 July 1970, London, England, UK

Height:5' 11ΒΌ" (1.81 m)

Trademarks:Begins his movies and introduces his main characters with a close up of their hands performing an action. Frequently casts Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. Opening scenes are usually a flashback or a piece of a scene from the middle or ending of the movie. Films conclude with the two central characters discussing the results which have stemmed from the events of the film. Non-linear timelines (Following (1998), Memento (2000), Batman Begins (2005) and The Prestige (2006)) Crosscutting several scenes of parallel action to build to a climax (The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Interstellar (2014)). His endings have a recurring theme of justified dishonesty. (Examples: Guy Pearce's "Do I lie to myself to be happy" monologue in Memento (2000), Michael Caine's closing remark that the audience "wants to be fooled" from The Prestige (2006) and Christian Bale's rationale of how the citizens of Gotham City "deserve to have their faith rewarded" in the ending of The Dark Knight (2008)). His films usually revolve around characters that are afflicted with some kind of psychological disorder. (Examples: Guy Pearce's short-term memory "condition" in Memento (2000), Al Pacino's titular sleeping disorder in Insomnia (2002), Christian Bale's phobia of bats in Batman Begins (2005) and Aaron Eckhart's dual personality in The Dark Knight (2008) and Leonardo DiCaprio not being able to grasp onto reality in Inception (2010)). The storyline in his films usually involves a determined character seeking vengeance over the death of a loved one. (Examples: Guy Pearce in Memento (2000), Christian Bale in Batman Begins (2005), Hugh Jackman in The Prestige (2006), Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight (2008), and Marion Cotillard in The Dark Knight Rises (2012)). Often casts actors in roles contrary to their usual screen persona Frequently uses hard cuts when transitioning to the next scenes. This is most prominent in his films from Batman Begins (2005) onward, especially in The Dark Knight (2008), 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. All of his films contain a major referential connection to his prior film (e.g. the Joker performs a deadly magic trick in The Dark Knight (2008); Nolan's previous film, The Prestige (2006), was about magicians performing magic tricks that turn deadly). His protagonists will often resort to tactics of physical or psychological torture to gain information (e.g. (SPOILERS) in Batman Begins (2005), Batman uses the hallucinagenic fear compound on Jonathan Crane in order to gain information about his "boss"; in The Prestige (2006), Angier buries Borden's assistant alive in order to get Borden to talk; in The Dark Knight (2008), Batman throws Salvatore Maroni off a building, breaking his legs, in order to gain information about the Joker; in the same movie, Harvey Dent puts a gun to one of the Joker's henchman and flips a coin for his life every second he doesn't talk to scare him into talking. Also in this movie, Batman uses physical intimidation for the interrogation of the Joker; in Insomnia (2002), Dormer drives into oncoming traffic in order to scare the victim's best friend into talking; in Inception (2010), Cobb demands that Saito discloses information to him on gunpoint; in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Batman physically threatens Bane to accquire the location of the trigger). His characters often gain a physical or psychological handicap in the course of the film (SPOILERS: in The Prestige (2006), Angier gets a crippled leg while Borden loses two fingers; in The Dark Knight (2008), Salvatore Maroni gets a crippled leg; in Insomnia (2002), Dormer gets insomnia; in Memento (2000), Leonard gains a memory handicap, the event of which is shown in flashback during the film) His films often have obsessive protagonists with a troubled past, who are obsessed to gain justice by any means in life (e.g. Leonard in Memento (2000), Al Pacino's character in Insomnia (2002), Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins (2005). Also the protagonist of Following (1998) and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige (2006) were obsessive) Lonely troubled protagonists who are unwillingly forced to hide their true identity from the world. Typically ends his films with a character giving a philosophical monologue Frequently in his films, at some crucial moment, the protagonists feel let down or betrayed by their mentors whom they have been following blindly and with respect. (e.g. The protagonist being cheated by Cobb in Following (1998), Leonard "discovering" that Teddy is the culprit in Memento (2000), Hilary Swank's character respecting Al Pacino as a great detective in Insomnia (2002) only to find out that he is also flawed, Bruce Wayne and Liam Neeson's character's confrontation in Batman Begins (2005), Cutter not supporting Angier in The Prestige (2006), Ariadne feeling betrayed by her mentor Cobb when he does not tell her about Mal's domain over his dreams in Inception (2010), Blake feeling let down by Gordon when his lie about Dent's death is exposed in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Murph finding out the truth about Professor Brand's work in Interstellar (2014). His films' protagonists have mostly lost their loved ones and/or failed in love, a circumstance that causes them turn into malevolent and/or apathetic forever. (e.g. Leonard in Memento (2000) has lost his wife in a brutal murder in the past, Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins (2005) has lost Rachel Dawes' faith in him throughout the film, Borden in The Prestige (2006) does not get his wife's love because of his character's 'act' in the movie and Angier loses his beloved in a mishap during a magic trick, Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight (2008) loses Rachel as well as Bruce Wayne is not able to win her love back) Often casts non-American actors in American roles. (e.g. Guy Pearce, Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Tom Wilkinson) Uses camera revolving around a character. (The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2005), Memento (2002) and Inception (2010)) Displays the title before the ending credits (Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2006), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)) The original scores of his films usually play over most of the film, or one piece of music will play over many small scenes, as if they are edited in a montage; there are few moments in his films when there is no music playing in the background. Characters who are unreliable narrators (e.g. Borden, through his journal, in The Prestige (2006), the Joker through his conflicting monologues in The Dark Knight (2008), and Leonard through his memory problem and 'conditioning' from Memento (2000), Dom with his mind in Inception (2010) Very frequently his films contain blackmail, attempted blackmail or a reference to blackmail. Never uses non-diegetic soundtrack music - soundtrack music is always used diegetically (that is, it is always played from a source within the film that the characters themselves can hear, like a radio..."Non, je ne regrette rien" by Edith Piaf was used by the characters as a kick in Inception (2010)) His films almost always end with the character's fate open to interpretation Enormous visual scope and heavy emphasis on location and architecture Villains in his films often threaten to harm the hero's friends or family His antagonists are often motivated by a philosophical belief rather than money Often works with editor Lee Smith, composer Hans Zimmer, cinematographer Wally Pfister, production designer Nathan Crowley and wife-producer Emma Thomas. Frequently uses symmetric image composition, possibly inspired by Stanley Kubrick. Many of his films contain a scene where the dynamic of a conversation changes when one of the characters reveals that he owns the establishment or event the characters are currently attending/talking about (e.g. a restaurant in The Dark Knight (2008), a charity ball in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), an airline in Inception (2010), or is closely linked with the person who does (a bar in Following (1998)). This strangely specific trademark reaches its furthest extreme in Batman Begins (2005) when, at the end of a scene, Bruce Wayne actually buys the place he is in (a restaurant) to change the dynamic between him and an angry waiter. His films almost always end with a sudden (and very effective) smash cut to black. (Memento (2002), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), and especially Inception (2010) are prime examples.) Protagonists have a desire to return to their children (Cobb in Inception (2010) and Cooper in Interstellar (2014))


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Directed By: Christopher Nolan Starring: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance...
Released in UK cinemas Friday 21st July 2017 Age Rating: 12A Runtime: 106 mins Language: English Next Showing: Unknown

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound

Directed By: Midge Costin Starring: Sofia Coppola, George Lucas, David Lynch...
Released in UK cinemas Friday 1st November 2019 Age Rating: TBC Runtime: 94 mins Language: English Next Showing: Unknown


Directed By: Christopher Nolan Starring: Pete Postlethwaite, Leonardo DiCaprio...
Released in UK cinemas Wednesday 12th August 2020 Age Rating: TBC Runtime: 149 mins Language: English Next Showing: Unknown


Directed By: Christopher Nolan Starring: Elizabeth Debicki, Robert Pattinson...
Released in UK cinemas Wednesday 26th August 2020 Age Rating: 12A Runtime: 149 mins Language: English Next Showing: Unknown


Directed By: Christopher Nolan Starring: Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr....
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 21st July 2023 Age Rating: TBC Language: English
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Last update was at 19:25 23rd January 2022