Oscar Wilde once said:
Every effect that one produces gives one an enemy. To be popular, one must be a mediocrity.
Let's answer the first question, you guys have in your minds for me.
Do I really think that Christopher Nolan is overrated?
Yes and no; depending on context.
In my mind, he's rated just about right. He has some great movies he's directed, others solid, and then a few that were just okay if you don't look any deeper at them and pick it apart because he apparently stopped giving a shit.
In the context of the masses though, he's insanely overrated.
He's not even the in the top 3 greatest living directors right now, let alone being the greatest.
I've heard people describe Nolan's movies as the pinnacle of all film, as the greatest films ever to be released in history. I have a theory for why this happens, and it has to do with the way in which I believe the way we view movies is changing.
To be one of the greatest directors of all time, Nolan will have to be in the same league as Hitchcock, Kubrick and Spielberg. These directors made movies that had a certain emotional bend to them and didn't rely on intellectual circle-jerks.
Nolan's movies are all brain, no heart. Spielberg was great too but his movies spoke to the heart; not just to the brain.
None of these directors, or Nolan for that matter, have a similar aesthetic. Indeed, Kubrick and Spielberg are diametrically opposed since one filmmaker is considered by cinephiles to be the greatest artist in the medium, hailing absolutely from a coldly intellectual perspective, and the other did indulge in an unashamed embrace of sentimentality.
Christopher Nolan's a very good director. But he's way behind Paul Thomas Anderson, The Coen Brothers when it comes to being a true auteur.
One of the biggest factors that work for Christopher Nolan is the fact that his brother, Jonathan Nolan, is a fucking genius. The writer deserves more credit than the director for Nolan's movies.
From Memento to The Dark Knight trilogy, Jonathan Nolan has played a pivotal role in his brother's success. I managed to make it through till 2012 without seeing the critically acclaimed cult hit that catapulted Christopher Nolan to the dizzying heights of critically acclaimed superhero franchises. I also made it through that decade without realizing that Christopher Nolan based that cult hit on a short story by his brother, Jonathan Nolan.
Jonathan Nolan's genius can been seen in shows like Westworld, Person of Interest, etc. While even in movies like The Prestige, his plot shines through and elevates the entire movie from the annals of mediocrity.
Nolan uses mystery as a gimmick for his movies.
Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker who has certainly benefited from the idea of 'the big reveal', whether in traditional twist ending form, or in the almost black-ops level of secrecy around each one of his film productions. However, at this point in his career, it’s become fair for critics of Nolan to point out how these the fogs of mystery are more of a gimmick than anything.
His career was fantastic when it started, but this whole 'pressure' of delivering with every movie seems to be getting the better of him.
I honestly think that Memento is one of the best movies from the past 20 years. In my opinion, it’s a perfectly written and directed masterpiece. I also thought that Insomnia was a quality effort, if not quite on the same level. While I’m still not sure how I feel about the plot twist at the end of The Prestige, I find it to be an interesting movie with a lot of merits.
I enjoyed Batman Begins and The Dark Knight a lot, though I think that the plot to the latter was far too overcrowded with plot-lines and characters. It would have been better served to focus only on the Joker and to save Harvey Dent’s story for a sequel.
Inception is a very frustrating movie. It’s overly-expository nature, with characters explaining, explaining, explaining, explaining and explaining everything that happens, really wore me down, despite the inventive action sequences. I was also annoyed at how little the film’s depiction of dreaming resembles the way dreams actually work.
Christopher Nolan's fans are in awe of his filmmaking skills while being completely unaware of the fact that his works are often 'influenced' by previous works of much better directors.
Please note that Inception has VERY HEAVILY borrowed elements from the classic Paprika. Entire scenes have been lifted from the animated movie. The plagiarism was so evident that the English adaptation of Paprika had to be cancelled since Inception had hit the theatres first.
The Prestige is an excellent movie but it feels like a cheap knock-off of a much better The Illusionist. The Dark Knight has some very distinct resemblances with the 90s action movie Heat. Everything from the bank heist scene to the famous interrogation sequence feel like deja vu once you've seen the original action thriller.
One of the major things that Nolan fans use for his defense is the fact that The Dark Knight trilogy is the most realistic portrayal of a superhero.
First things first, Unbreakable did it better. Secondly, Batman is a billionaire who plays dress-up at night while battling countless thugs. He is friends with an alien who can fly. Superheroes as a concept is unreal and why would you want it to be realistic?
Nolan uses convenient plot devices because that's the only way he knows how to treat a movie right.
Christopher Nolan, as a writer or story developer or whatever, tries to jam way too much in. He writes and “locks in the script,” to use some industry parlance, with no sense of the amount of time films should realistically be. And when he constructs his stories, he does so in the same way of someone putting together a Rube Goldberg machine: Point A must lead to point B, which must lead to point C, and on and on. If the third playing card doesn’t hit the fourth, that doesn’t trigger the hammer, which doesn’t push the bowling ball, and the machine just fizzles into an embarrassing death.
But what amazing contraptions Nolan has planned: Planets made entirely of waves! Batman pulling a heist in Japan! A dream level in a world of snow! William Devane as a member of the NASA board! William Devane as the United States President!
Christopher Nolan spoon-feeds his audience with every bit of information and that makes people with mediocre minds think that he's a genius. Other directors don't need to do it because they don't consider the audience dumb, that's not the case with Nolan.
I have observed the brightest, most analytical people put aside their minds when watching any movie. Sometimes, we are so used to suspending disbelief in movies that we stop thinking about them altogether. I think this, at least partially, is why we endorse outrageously unrealistic films.
For me at least, a good movie shouldn't analyze itself. Nolan's films thrive on it. Sure, his movies are entertaining and well made from a technical point of view, but they are certainly not the pinnacle of intellectual film making. In fact, far from it.
One of the things that really bugs me about Interstellar is the fact that the movie was so ambitious in the way it tried explaining complex scientific theories to the masses. But then came the kicker.
Love is the only thing that transcends space and time.
Why would you marr a great movie with over the top dialogues like these?
I am not saying that Nolan is not a great director, but he is definitely overrated by his fans who seem to think that he's one of the best directors of all time. In fact, we should give him a lot of credit for what he has achieved.
Unlike other foreign markets, Hollywood has long been a tug-of-war between lofty aspirations and the industry’s need to entertain. Filmmaking may be a business almost everywhere else, but in Hollywood it requires meeting the sweet-spot of success and art.
This is where Nolan becomes key to the industry.
He has often made movies the perfect amalgamation of creativity and Box-office moolah, but that doesn't make him one of the greatest directors of all time. That makes him one of the good directors in the industry. In such an environment, there is a distinction between the showmen and the artists. Long before the auteur theory existed, there was still a line in the sand separating the producers or directors that made the crowd pleasers, and those that made the award winners.