Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Master Artwork of Christopher Nolan

First, because of Friday's massacre, let's watch this:

What Random Guy is talking about is how geeks and movie lovers came together in honor of a director who treated their realm (a Comic book character and the world around him) with respect.  We need more directors like Nolan.

Yesterday, I was going to do two posts, this one about the great person and director Christopher Nolan and my review of Dark Knight Rises. No movies tonight in the Valley -- most of my readers have seen Dark Knight Rises, or will soon. So, back to business (of comics and movies)

This post will touch on some of my favorite Nolan movies and why.

When I first saw Nolan's Memento, I had just arrived in LA.  No car, no direction and no clue.  His movie made as much sense to me as Fight Club (at that time).  Very rarely can movies show internal battles, but as I was going through my questions of living in LA, I heard about the plot and went to see Memento.


Since I saw Memento at 8000 Sunset Boulevard when they had an independent movie theatre there (along with a Virgin record store, Sam Ash and a CPK) and was blown away by the storytelling (and the method using black and white and color to tell the tale), I have been a fan of Christopher Nolan. 

The best thing about Nolan's breakout movie was how he reminded me of Joseph Conrad.  In Conrad's books, not every character is all good or all evil, but many shades of grey morality.  Memento using memory and character exposed that everyone was using each other for bad ends.

Yes, Nolan uses three act structure, but he is not dependent on CGI or the scripts (which is usually written with his brother).  He develops character, he makes his movies almost novel like.  George Lucas lost me when he made Han shoot Greedo first and politicizing the Prequels. 


When Insomnia came out, I ran back to the movie theatres (usually I run to bookstores, movies, rarely).

It starred Al Pacino going head to head with the Midnight Alaska Sun and Robin Williams as the did he or didn't he do it antagonist? Not just a mystery, but a character arc.  I could feel the Midnight Sun creeping up on me throughout the film.

Pacino downplayed his role, and Robin Williams was scarier by not going all googly eyed.  Danger, in this movie, came in quiet footsteps.  The Sun damaging Pacino's sleep patterns and Williams' character being friendly and not at all a villain.

The best storytellers understand that villains don't think they are evil, and the good guys are not always heroes.

During Insomnia, I was still getting my feet wet here in LA. It was a year before my dad died, and he saw it too.  He liked it.  Too bad he missed the Dark Knight trilogy. 

I skipped Batman Begins (and have only seen it twice on TV) because I wasn't in any mood for a superhero movie.  My dad had died in 03, and I was struggling to get back to DC.  I flew back east, took a Summer class at the Leadership institute and have not been back since.  Life interrupted here.

My (current) political work is trying to help turn the tide in LA from Blue to Red.  If I made it back to DC then (or in 03 if my Dad did not pass away), I don't think I would have become a Goth or become entrenched in RPLAC.  But these victories came later.

The Dark Knight

If you have been a reader of the Valley, you know of "the Plague Year,"  I will not rehash the story, just follow the links, here. 

As my mind and soul were breaking that Summer, two movies helped keep me somewhat steady: Southland Tales and the Dark Knight.

The story of Dent's rise and fall matched mine. The Joker's love of chaos matched the craziness going through my own personal life.  Butr what caught me was how Nolan stuck by the comic books.

Anyone can pilot a comic book movie, but what made the Dark Knight lift above all other super hero movies was what Nolan has been working on since Memento.  Not all good characters are all good, and everyone who thinks they know what is going on, doesn't.

The Mob bosses thought they controlled the Joker.  As the movie progresses, the Joker gains control of Gotham (i.e.the "Social experiment,").  I saw the film three times during that summer, I saw a lot of myself in Dent.  Of course, I rooted for Batman. But the Joker had the storyline (and my life) correct: You cannot go back, you changed things.  


The story of Inception, stealing (or putting an idea into a dream), is an Old one.  But Nolan brought a concept and brought it down to reality.

At this point in my life, I was back on track.  I was politicking, I was working on promoting the Southland Fundraiser,  

The dream within dream within dream concept I got within my first (movie) viewing.  I caught it on cable multiple times.  The story made sense, and I was designing a storyline for Los Angeles Election 2010 that would have brought the Dreamers (the Bloggers) and the goal (Electing LA GOP candidates) together.

One thing about Nolan that I respect is that he does not go into my work realm (politics) and insult or stereotype.  I don't know his politics and he doesn't slam mine.  That is a good working relationship between filmmaker and audience.  

Thank you Christopher Nolan for helping me live my life (in LA now less) through your movies!

My question: Has any director or series of movies affect your life?

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