Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You Won't Forget About Pearce.


Today I had an epiphany.

While trying to find a truly striking screenshot of Memento, I realized I might have discovered the reason why I'm not a fan of Christopher Nolan...

*drum roll*

The man doesn't make memorable images.

*awaits booing*

But let me explain myself...Nolan is usually compared to Stanley Kubrick in terms of formalism and technical mastery, but truly, where Kubrick was a master at creating indelible images (almost all of his films have at least one truly iconic shot) Nolan has never achieved this.

Before the bashing begins, give this a thought.
What's really memorable about his films? In The Dark Knight it was Heath Ledger's larger-than-life performance, Inception was all about the cool factor and Memento, well, Memento was all about the mind fucks.

One can say that Nolan is much more of a cerebral filmmaker; his movies work because of the ideas behind them, not particularly because he knows how to execute said ideas in an aesthetically pleasing way. And by this I don't mean I'm expecting him to deliver three-strip Technicolor features or hire Wong Kar-wai as a visual consultant, because that's not really his thing. It's just that he's so worried about making a smart impression on people that he truly forgets that movies can be beautiful and smart.
He doesn't have to be the ugly chick who quotes Nietzsche and never puts out to preserve her dignity, he can be the big boobed blonde that surprises you because of her intellect.

Sure, his movie might've won an Oscar for cinematography this year, but that was actually a breakthrough for AMPAS. Usually they reward the prettiest movie; this year they remembered that cinematography is also about camera movement and technical mastery. Nolan's movies sure have that, but they rush so fast that their stream of consciousness like shots, make it tough, if not impossible to be haunted by any of them.

P.S: my favorite shot of Memento is this one...


...because if I was as hot as Guy Pearce I'd also take pictures of myself and be all like "who me?" whenever I found myself looking at them and sighing about how pretty I was.

This post is part of Nat's unforgettable "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series.

10 comments:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

This is just perfect. Just perfect. I might come back later with a proper comment when I'm lucid, but for now: LOVE this.

NATHANIEL R said...

omg. we chose the same shot (sort of). I love the conflicting read it gives us of the Lenny character. Plus, yeah, Pearce is yum.

Jason H. said...

I have to be honest: I am a big fan of Nolan's. When I read your line about his unmemorable shots, I instantly started racing through my mind trying to find a counterpoint and found....nothing. There are ideas, performances, stories, and scenes that stick out in my mind (the zero-gravity hallway fight in Inception, for example), but no individual image. I agree, I think Nolan's not much of a visual director, but his films don't really rely on breathtakingly beautiful images.

Though one day, I want to see him try one day. Maybe using a cinematographer other than Wally Pfister would help.

Jose said...

Oh Andrew, how you spoil me...

Nat: true. And he smiles so little outside of this pic.

Jason: aww, thanks! Usually Nolanites call me names and hide under my bed to attack me when I get home. Glad to hear you at least gave me a chance to make my point (even more glad you agreed hehe...)
Pfister is brilliant but yeah, maybe they've been together for too long.

notanotherblog said...

It's the only one where Lenny's smiling.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Interesting take on Nolan skills. I wonder, though, if it's a concious choice. Eve directors like Woody Allen and and Clint Eastwood who just point the camera and run the scene occasionally come up with stunning shots, so it's odd that Nolan who does spend his time agonising over things hasn't.

Maybe he deliberately avoids allowing these shots to appear in the final cut so as to highlight other aspects of the film?

Jose said...

Hmm not so sure about that. I personally just don't think he has an eye for iconic images. It might be interesting to see what someone else does with one of his screenplays.

Red said...

For me, batman standing over the rubble after Rachel's death is pretty iconic in my book. I would say maybe the Joker sticking his head out the window, but that's more of a very small sequence rather than an image.

watch movies said...

I completely agree with you that Christopher Nolan is not good enough to watch and even his images and films doesn't excite me to watch him..I don't even like this one.

www.ventaxcatalogo.com said...

This won't really have success, I feel like this.