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Posts Tagged ‘christopher nolan’

Don’t think of the …….

July 17, 2010 4 comments

What would be your instantaneous reaction if I tell you ‘Don’t think of the elephant’? Of course, you would start thinking about one and thus I have planted a thought  in your mind. This inception of thought is the basic idea behind the movie INCEPTION. In the last post, I mentioned about this movie and you could say this is a continuation to that post, in a way….

Rarely do you see multiplex audiences clapping for a movie. But that is the kind of effect Christopher Nolan has on his fans.  It happened last time (Mumbai crowd), while watching Dark Knight when the whole crowd was simply stunned at seeing the Batmobile turn into a Batpod .  And it happened last night too, (this time in Kolkata crowd), when the crowd clapped once and only once – and that was during the last (but not the least) scene of the film. While some of them might have clapped for the movie, or for the scene itself, or for the ‘INCEPTION’ of the concept of the movie in Nolan’s brain , am sure there were some of them who were applauding for themselves that they allowed themselves to be treated and tricked and deceived yet another time. Yes, I am talking about a group of die-hard Nolan fans whose size has been on the rise for some time now. They would rate Nolan as their Numero Uno director. Believe me they would not like to hear a single negative comment about any of his movies, defending and justifying every single twist and every single scene. How do I know? Obviously, because I am one of them.

The above said being true, once you set such high standards for a film and a director, it is very easy to be let down. You need to raise the bar each and every time you make a movie and believe me, Nolan doesn’t let you down.  To begin with, the main theme of the film, that of sharing dream space and sharing a mind space through technology has now become a very standard theme. I feel these films should be classified as a new genre altogether (Read my previous post).  So if you are coming out with such themes, you need to have something extraordinary in terms of story and concept to make it a refreshing experience for the viewer.

Without revealing much of the story, the plot goes something like this….. Dom Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) is an extractor who specializes in extracting ideas by getting into others’ dreams. But this time round he is asked by Saito (Ken Watanabe) to do something different. And for this task, he comes out with a team, some his old friends and some recruited newly. The major part of the film is how they go about doing this task. Also as another subplot, Cobb has his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) coming in his dreams again and again often to the point that he loses control of the situation.

It is not the first time that Chris Nolan has come out with such mind blowing action sequences. We saw a bit of it in BATMAN BEGINS and of course a lot of it in DARK KNIGHT. While these two were more of action hero movies, this is the first time I am seeing Nolan blending lots of action with an extremely tricky and sensitive story line. And as far as cinematography is concerned, it is almost first of its kind. Walter Pfister has really done a great job. Nolan has depended on him for all his movies since memento and the man has already picked up three academy award nominations, all three for Nolan’s films – Batman Begins, Dark Knight and the Prestige. Talking about Prestige’s cinematography – it was excellent with all the magical tricks and scientific touch. But the movie didn’t require any of the high speed action which we seen in INCEPTION.

The screenplay – am sure that the screenplay demanded infinite revisions and corrections. The plots were so closely interlinked and every bit of detail, along with its scientific reasoning had to be taken care of. The background score by Hans Zimmer was simply awesome and blended well with the scenes.

Talking about the cast, Leonardo, needless to say, has put up a stupendous performance.  But frankly speaking, his role wasn’t that demanding. Of the rest of the cast, all the team members had done a decent job, but special mention about Joseph Gordon-Levitt ( of 500 days of summer fame) who had a decent screen presence, considering he was acting along with some of the industry biggies like Leo and Watanabe. Too bad Michael Caine did not get any substantial role in the film. Ellen Page (Of Juno fame) has also done a pretty decent job.

But the one who stole the show completely was Marion Cotillard. Her role was very demanding and she had to emote anger, repentence, sadness and vengeance almost at the same time and she did it with panache.  Interestingly, I found her character’s name quite intriguing – Mal. Mal is a prefix we associate with a negative connotation – as in malware, malfunctioning etc.

Talking about computer programming and coding, I found this interesting connect between Nolan’s movies and Software programming. Most of his earlier films resembled multi threading while this involve multiple nested loops.

That’s it for now, please do  watch the movie and enjoy the experience. And believe me; you would love being ‘Nolan’ised.

The Pledge, the Turn and the …

June 17, 2010 9 comments

Dear all, I have finally decided to enter the world of blogging and here is my first blog post.  I thought of writing something related to movies and it only seems natural that one would like to keep talking about his /her favorite movie.  This post is not a review (because it’s too late in the day for a review) and of course we are not discussing the plot here. This is more of a tribute to one of the best movies ever made by one of the best directors of all times. The Prestige by Christopher Nolan

The movie got released way back in 2006. Two other magic based movies also got released the same year. The Illusionist and Scoop. Incidentally, both Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson were part of Scoop too. To tell the truth, the Prestige trailers didn’t impress me much and even though ‘Christopher Nolan’ did ring a bell (I had seen memento but not Batman Begins), the look and feel of the movie didn’t make for compulsive viewing. Also the excellent cinematography in the film was somehow not coming out in the trailers.  The movie got great reviews, but watching a movie on magicians……no way.

Eventually, I saw the movie in 2008 and man ….was I impressed.  When you adapt a film from a novel, there would be good ones and there would be poor ones and then there is the prestige.  Nolan this time assisted by his brother (Jonathan) has come out with a wonderful screenplay. His non linear style of narration took an entirely new level as the story itself was divided on the basis of the three acts – the pledge, the turn and the prestige.

A small note of caution: Spoilers Ahead.

The movie is about two magicians – Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Borden (Christian Bale) who initially were co-apprentices with another magician. But due to a freak accident in which Angier’s wife gets killed due to Borden’s carelessness, a lifelong battle for one-upmanship ensues.  The new trick brought on by Borden – ‘The transported man’ adds to the drama as Angier is too impressed by the trick and wants to do it himself.

For both the magicians, the PLEDGE – something ordinary were the diaries they were reading. The diaries presented themselves as a simple piece of information about the other magician. Then comes the TURN – the part where each magician comes to know that the other one is trying to talk to him and in a way has outwitted him. In Angier’s case, the fact that Borden had faked the password. In Borden’s case the fact that Angier knew the former would be convicted for the latter’s murder. The ordinary had suddenly become extraordinary and finally for the PRESTIGE – Angier was cloning himself all the while and Borden had a twin.

The movie also shows how an obsession for something would lead you to doom – how a person like Angier who would never get his hands dirty would finally do something as dreadful as that. The audience would have great difficulty in understanding who the protagonist is and who is the antagonist. The character of Cutter (Michael Caine) was instrumental in deciding this. All the while, he was standing by Angier. He felt that Angier had been deprived of his family life by Borden and he would help Angier win the battle. But the moment he came to know that Angier had forcefully taken away Borden’s daughter from him, he took custody of her and returned her to the rightful owner.

The movie also teaches a lesson or two on sacrifice. The way each of the twins was ready to sacrifice half of his life for the sake of the trick was phenomenal. Angier for his part had to sacrifice life itself. Angier also teaches a great lesson on humility. In the end he bluntly accepts that Borden and not he was the better magician. He in spite of being ‘Lord Caldlow’ was brave enough to lead a humble life to pursue his dream of being the greatest magician.

All in all, a great movie – some of the dialogues like ‘no one cares about the man in the box’ just stay with you. The Cinematography was great and the movie got a well deserved Academy award nomination too. Too bad it couldn’t win it. The casting also was really great. Though Bale is British, Jackman, an Australian has been preferred over scores of British actors, probably because of his prior experience in playing a Victorian British character (Kate & Leopold). Michael Caine in the role of Cutter set the tone of the film and time and again made the audience take or change sides.  I kind of totally left out the rivalry between Tesla and Newton which was a parallel track in the film. Maybe, some other time.

Well, keep reading my blog. ….and …..’ARE YOU WATCHING CLOSELY?’

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