One of the more respectable directors of the present generation, Christopher Nolan is that rare example of a name behind the scenes that helps sell movies, perhaps at times a tad bit more than even the stars he casts. His latest outing Dunkirk graced the big screens in 2D and IMAX on Jul 16 last year and just became available on Blu-Ray on Dec 19, 2017. The movie had a successful theatrical run, managing to make $525 million worldwide against a $100 million budget which, for an original war movie not based on a franchise in 2017 is an impressive sum of money. On the occasion of the movie’s Blu-Ray release, the veteran director of such acclaimed hits as Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar and many more sat down for an insightful chat with The L. A. Times about the movie itself, about other movies and much more.
One of the things that Dunkirk simultaneously received both heavy praise as well as criticism for was the lack of dialogue or story-telling. Where earlier, audiences would complain about the incessant exposition in his films slamming him of over-explaining stuff, the very same audiences were baffled when Nolan chose to make a war movie without much dialogue. As he explained back then, although some of this was in response to the critical complaints received about too much expository wordplay, his intention was largely to thrust viewers in the moment and provide them a visceral experience of what it felt like being a part of the situation in Dunkirk from different viewpoints – land, sea and air.
“I took a lot of risks and did a lot of things that were outside my comfort zone with Dunkirk“, explained Nolan to L. A. Times reporter Glenn Whipp. “I removed a lot of my safety nets, particularly in the screenwriting area where I’d become, I think, fairly proficient in the use of dialogue to express back story and character. And when I wrote this screenplay, I decided to remove all that and look at it in a different way. So I felt like I challenged myself and really tinkered with the fundamentals of large-scale filmmaking. And I was certainly nervous that the film wouldn’t work in the marketplace.”
Speaking further on moving away from the traditional expository nature of his films, Nolan remarked, “I went from one extreme to the other. I think when people are critical of the amount of exposition that I’ve engaged in in my other films, it’s probably important that they take into account the complexity of the films as well.” That’s something I for one certainly stand-by. Films like Inception, Memento and Interstellar had much more complicated plots and twisted narrative threads than Dunkirk and demanded the level of explanation they eventually ended up incorporating.
One of the more interesting aspects to speaking with Nolan is his appreciation for cinema in general, even movies made by his peers. To that end, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey happen to be some of the movies Nolan is a big fan of. When asked about whether he’d have wanted to do a Blade Runner sequel i.e. possibly direct Blade Runner 2049 (something I’d be totally in for) Nolan sadly declined saying, “There are a lot of movies that are on such a pedestal that to try and either remake them or follow them up would be too tricky.” On whether he saw the sequel by Denis Villeneuve, he only had words of praise to share, stating “It was a real pleasure. I love [director] Denis [Villeneuve]. He bravely took on what he referred to as a suicide mission, following such a huge film that I was such a fan of. I thought he did a great job. Those guys really went for it. You have to admire that.”
The interview is full of interesting insights by Nolan into some of his other movies, his thought process and even his views on Stanley Kubrick’s 1969 masterpiece. Check out the complete interview by clicking on the source link below and don’t forget to like us for more such entertainment related scoops. You can also check out our review of Dunkirk here.