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Nolan, Christopher

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Film, People.

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(1970-    ) Anglo-American filmmaker (with dual citizenship) known for his audacious experiments in film narrative form, as well as for his more conventionally shaped but thematically ambitious work on Warner's revived Batman franchise. A director, producer, and screenwriter, he often works in tandem with his wife Emma Thomas (1971-    ), his screenwriter brother Jonathan Nolan (1976-    ), the film composer Hans Zimmer (1957-    ), and latterly also with a loose repertory company of actors across multiple features. His early non-sf features Following (1998) and the highly regarded Memento (2000) explored psychological obsession through radically non-linear narrative, the latter famously recreating the effects of anterograde Amnesia through the telling of its story backwards in segments corresponding to its brain-damaged hero's moving mnemonic horizon. After a competent but conventional turn on the remake of Scandinavian thriller Insomnia (2002), Nolan was engaged to direct David S Goyer's reboot of Warners' Batman Films franchise with Batman Begins (2005), whose success enabled a deal for the Nolan brothers' pet project The Prestige (2006), adapted from The Prestige (1995) by Christopher Priest. The pattern of alternating Batman films with more daring personal ventures continued when the massive success of The Dark Knight (2008) leveraged the high-risk and hugely expensive Nolan original Inception (2010): against the odds, a spectacular hit that left Nolan one of the most powerful players in the studio system; Interstellar (2014), once again staggeringly expensive, seemed likely to strengthen his position, which may however have been weakened by Tenet (2020), an extremely complex Time Opera involving travel backward and forward in time.

Sometimes criticized as overly cerebral and formalist, Nolan commands a passionate and at times cult-like following, but is an undeniably adventurous and seemingly Midas-fingered filmmaker who alternates game-changing franchise blockbusters with daring narrative experiments of a kind rarely attempted in big-budget cinema. [NL]

Christopher Jonathan James Nolan

born London, 30 July 1970

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