Dear Christopher Nolan
With the release on Dunkirk now very close, I thought it would be a good time to revisit your previous movies as well as comment on your importance to the film industry today.
As someone who is frankly sick of unwanted sequels and reboots, it is always exciting to learn that you are working on a new project, as I know that I will be treated to a new and unique cinematic experience. Part of my appreciation for you as a director stems from the fact that your films tell great stories that are both engaging and immersive for myself and the audience.
Your choice to film as much as possible in-camera is something that other directors should take note of, particularly in the case of large blockbusters. The difference can be felt between a film that relies on green screen as opposed to an Interstellar where you took the steps in production to produce practical sets for the actors and applied the special effects later. It greatly adds to the realism of the film and definitely enhances the performances.
A feature of your movies that I find most rewarding is their repeat viewings. With reference to Memento and The Prestige, in particular, your movies, for the most part, offer a completely different viewing experience the second time around due to the nature of the story. Whilst watching for the first time I am, like many others, drawn into the story, trying to figure out what’s going on and, in the end, satisfied with the way it neatly ties up. It is upon the second viewing however that I come to appreciate the finer details of the film as well as the clear thought and preparation that has gone into constructing the story. The respect that is shown to the audience though is what separates your films from many others that feel the need to hold the viewer’s hand due to, what may be perceived as, more confusing plot details. I find with your films that, even when confused, I am still getting something out of the experience, whether it be the visuals, the dialogue or the acting.
However, the feature that I enjoy the most in your films is the non-linear story structure. Being applied in, Following, Memento, Batman Begins and The Prestige, this clever and carefully crafted way of telling a story is one that I feel is the most effective in terms of keeping viewers engaged. It makes it very difficult for the audience to predict what will happen and, as a result, keeps them enthralled in the story whilst in a constant state of thought. The stimulating nature of your films is part of what makes them so great. There is huge enjoyment in being challenged as an audience and that is exactly what your films do. What’s more, it often doesn’t matter if a plot point is predicted correctly as the stories are usually so layered that there is always at least one more surprise in store.
Your reputation in Hollywood has granted you the opportunity to work with some great actors over the years; Al Pacino, Heath Ledger and Michael Caine to name a few. The utilisation of this cast has at times been masterful. From casting to dialogue and finally direction of performance, this grand roster of A-list actors do nothing but better your films and further bring to life the stories you tell.
Another one of your activities outside of filmmaking that I have come to applaud is your work on the preservation of film, which is an incredibly important and sometimes overlooked side of your career. I have heard you speak multiple times about the importance of saving older films, particularly in the form of film stock film, and hope that with a highly praised Hollywood figure such as yourself involved in the process, more will feel the need to take part in this process.
I think it is a testament to your success that you have had the chance to make original, big budget film’s such as Interstellar, Inception and now Dunkirk. I wholeheartedly look forward to seeing what the tense wartime epic has to offer and am excited to see how you handle a film based on real life events.
Hopefully, it won’t be too long until your next project. In the meantime, though, you’ve left an excellent set of films to keep us thoroughly entertained.