Christopher Nolan & the Illusion of Popularism

The idea of pop culture when it comes to Hollywood then we cannot defy the presence of Christopher Nolan and his illusional world. A British, who aim to live the life through the cinematic magic provides the wholesome courtesy of art, aesthetic and making the film blockbuster at box office. He is one of the highest-grossing directors in history, and among the most acclaimed and influential filmmakers of the 21st century. He is the director of cinematic achievement like Memento (2000), Insomnia (2002), the mystery drama The Prestige (2006). He found further popular and critical success with The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–2012); Inception (2010), sci-fi drama Interstellar (2014) and war history drama Dunkirk (2017).

The cinema movement which Christopher Nolan has started after the release of his 2008 film the Dark Night in which the audience for the first time saw the popular DC comics villain Joker in an empathetic manner. His movies require this thick quotient of reality to support his looping plots, which accelerate in shifting time signatures, consume themselves in recursive intrigue and advance formidable and enchanting problems of interpretation.

The part of reason his work has done so well at the box office is that his audience, members and not just his fans, but his critics find themselves watching his movies twice, or three times, bleary-eyed and shivering in their dusky light, hallucinating wheels within wheels and stopping only to blog about the finer points. These blogs pose questions along the lines of,  “If the fact that the white van is in free-fall off the bridge in the first dream means that, in the second dream, there’s zero gravity in the hotel, then why is there still normal gravity in the third dream’s Alpine fortress?”

Nolan is a gestalt thinker and entertainer, and he thinks that it’s technical details like these, even the ones we register only unconsciously, that make the theatrical experience a vivid and continuous dream. That his films manage to be both mainstream blockbusters and objects of such cult appeal is what makes Nolan a singular, and a singularly admired, figure in Hollywood.

When Nolan was 7; his father, a British advertising copywriter, took him to see, the initial release of “Star Wars” and a theatrical rerelease of “2001.” within the span of about a year. The age of 7, perhaps not coincidentally, was also the year in which he started to make his own movies, on a Super 8 he borrowed from his dad. 

Christopher Nolan’s most of the film deals with the idea of existentialism. This is influenced by the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, existentialism focuses on the individual’s struggle to find meaning in the modern world, one increasingly devoid of traditional notions of order and authority and constantly threatened by the specter of post-Darwinian nihilism. Existentialists argue that the cosmos doesn’t have a clear, predetermined plan. There’s not even an essential ‘human nature’ to help guide us through life’s obstacle course. There is only the purpose we create through our choices, and we can’t know with absolute, God-like certainty whether we’ve made the right ones. This is exactly the dilemma that the characters of the movies of Christopher Nolan, one of the greatest film-makers of today, face when it comes to defining the meaning of their lives. Nolan’s movies, whether heist films, or films about superheroes, amnesia patients and magicians, cleverly mask existential issues within glossy Hollywood entertainers, but it nonetheless reaches out, not only to the people who are familiar with existentialist theories, but also to the masses who are dealing with issues of existentialism in their everyday life.

As a filmmaker Christopher Nolan always wants to walk a fine line if there is one fundamental theme that suffuses his entire filmography its that the cinema is shared narrative can be a hugely powerful cultural force. Many of his film reference film itself, like the scenery of inception where the characters behaviour is with the sync of people working on the film sets as film crew. Leonardo DiCaprio character cobb works like the director, Ellen page character Ariadne as a production designer, tome hardy character Eames as actor and so on.

Christopher Nolan cinema is always about immersion bringing you into the story so fully that edges disappear, and you are carried along by the narrative momentum. He wants to be immersive and met cinematic at the same time, in another words he wants to hide in the plain sight. Hiding in the plain sight is also the main subject of the Nolan’s fifth film the prestige.

Christopher Nolan’s film demonstrate unique capacity without compromising audience suspended disbelief.  The complex narrative structure is totally subservient to the story Nolan wants to tell. Its necessary for his style to keep the twist secrets until the film wants to reveal them. This is Christopher Nolan’s great gift as a filmmaker, he is so in tune with the dynamic of film narrative that he can construct the plot with so much forward momentum. That even when he gives you all the clues, you remain at his mercy until the very final shot. You can enjoy his film and enjoy the story for what it is, that’s what Nolan wants for us. He wants us to be amazed and as his films itself says, most of us want to be fooled. But all films even as one as tightly whelmed as inception or the prestige invites a probing eye. As characters of the film see’s trick to do their job, we can see into cinema, into the magnificent world of Nolan. We are accustomed to taking most editing for granted, but the way stories are told, the tools of any story telling medium in the large part determine the way we construct our own memories, shared or personal. This is all to say studying film doesn’t kill its magic, it feeds the magic back into the real world. Christopher Nolan is the on genius who is working towards making the cinematic experience for the audience perspective where everyone is fighting over art house cinema and commercial cinema.