Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Christopher!

Christopher Nolan was born in London on this day, forty years ago. Happy 40th b-day to Christopher! At the ripe old age of seven, he was making super 8mm films using his action figures as his stars. He graduated into 16mm films when he attended University College London, studying English Literature. In 1996, one of his short films was screened at the Cambridge Film Festival and that, as they say, was that! His career seemed to progress rather nicely from that point on. Of course he has been in the news a bit lately due to the release of his latest film, Inception. I haven’t seen it yet but hope to in the near future. Between the time of his Cambridge Film Festival success and the release of Inception, he has made some films that are worthy of your consideration:

Memento: Christopher Nolan was only 30 years old when he directed this amazing film. Nolan based Memento on a short story by his brother, Jonathan Nolan, who told it to him during a cross-country road trip. If you have seen it, you will know why the plot is difficult to describe. Basically, it is about a man who has lost his short termed memory after a violent incident where his wife is murdered. Oh and the story is told in reverse! The always brilliant Guy Pearce plays the man and although you have to pay attention during this film, it is indie film at its best and worth the brain cells!

Batman Begins: Finally! Someone got a Batman film right! I can’t say I was a big fan of this franchise until I saw Christopher Nolan’s vision of the caped crusader. Christian Bale was an unusual but genius bit of casting as the ever brooding Bruce Wayne. Instead of the Wham! Pow! cartooniness of the prior films, this one is intelligent and brings to the foreground the demons that haunt and drive Bruce Wayne versus just the escapades of the caped crusader.

The Prestige: Abracadabra! The brothers Nolan (Christopher and Jonathan) wrote this screenplay for Christopher to direct. Nolan, once again, uses Christian Bale to great effect. Bale and Hugh Jackman play magicians in turn-of-the-century London who engage in a devious and deadly no-holds-barred rivalry. As the illusions get more spectacular, these bitterest of rivals rage with enough fury to want to destroy each other's personal as well as professional lives. Look for another brilliant casting turn as David Bowie shows up briefly as Nikola Tesla.

All of these films are available on DVD in the HBPL Media department. So if you want to celebrate Nolan’s birthday tonight, get some cake, get some ice cream, get a DVD of one of his films and celebrate!