Tag Archive: inception


The entertainment industry is an incredibly fickle one; one bad movie can see you go from the top of your game to the discard pile as quick as a flash. So it takes incredible determination, talent and motivation to continue on acting for so many years. 65 is usually the age of retirement over here in Britain but here are a few actors who show no signs of slowing down as they get older, just continuing to get better with age.

Robert De Niro – Born: August 17, 1943 – 69 years old.

This man really does need very little introduction. He’s been acting since the 1960’s but really made his name in the 70s with performances in The Godfather trilogy and of course his iconic performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s become associated largely with gangster films but in the last decade or two he’s been slightly less picky with his roles and has taken fun roles rather than the intense ones he used to, as witnessed in Stardust and Meet the Parents. Five releases are slated for this year with more coming in 2014.

Sir Ben Kingsley – Born: 31st December, 1943 – 69 years old.

It’s actually unbelievable that Sir Ben Kingsley was once in English soap opera Coronation Street. Kingsley is often forgotten by mainstream audiences but he is clearly one of the best actors that England have ever produced. He won an Oscar for his role in Ghandi and continues to show his versatility with recent roles in Hugo, Shutter Island and Sexy Beast. Kingsley can now be seen playing Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Sir Ian McKellen – Born: 25th May, 1939 – 73 years old.

McKellen is a true thespian. It took until the late 80s/early 90s really until McKellen became a certified film star and his career continues to thrive; really, since the turn of the century McKellen has become an actor that all different types of audiences want to see. He has shown off his talents in two iconic roles in particular, Magneto in X-Men and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings (a role he has reprised for The Hobbit trilogy), while at the same time continuing to do short films and television work as well.

Jack Nicholson – Born: 22nd April, 1937 – 75 years old.

What is there left to say about Jack Nicholson that hasn’t been said before? He is undoubtedly one of the best actors that has ever worked. That’s just a simple fact of life. He’s been acting since the 1950s and although he is taking longer breaks between work at the minute that doesn’t mean he is getting any worse. Over the years Nicholson has won three (THREE!) Oscars for his work and turned out great performances in the likes of The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Batman and The Departed. That’s a career well spent.

Morgan Freeman – Born: 1st June, 1937 – 75 years old.

He’s probably the only man in the world that people could just listen to every single day and never get bored. Has Morgan Freeman really ever been young? A lot of Freeman’s work up until the 90s was largely television work but what a decade the 90s became for him: Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption and Se7en saw Freeman in quite an incredible rise to fame. One that continues thanks to his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Robert Redford – Born: 18th August, 1936 – 76 years old.

Redford has slowed down in recent years but he is not only an acclaimed actor but also has been nominated for Oscars for his directing as well (and won). This is a man who starred in some of the most famous films of all time: The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s made something of a return to acting in the last couple of years with The Company You Keep (2012), All is Lost (2013) and he is set to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Sir Michael Caine – Born: 14th March, 1933 – 80 years old.

This year, the great actor turned eighty years old. Unbelievable considering the energy and the emotion that he still brings to all of his characters. Michael Caine has a filmography to rival anybody, he really has reached the top of his game and been there for decades as well now! The Italian Job, Zulu, Alfie, Get Carter, Hannah and Her Sisters and of course more recently he has become a regular collaborator with Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige and Inception. A true legend of the acting world.

Christopher Plummer – Born: 13th December, 1929 – 83 years old.

Remember The Sound of Music? One of the most iconic films of all time? Released in 1965? Well Christopher Plummer was in that. And his career is one that seems to have really got better with age and has, in fact, flourished since the beginning of the 21st century. He has recently had roles in A Beautiful Mind, Nicholas Nickleby, National Treasure, Syriana, Up, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and finally won an Oscar in 2012 for his role in Beginners.

These actors are true legends of their profession.

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Leonardo DiCaprio recently announced that he is to take a break from acting after he has been busy making three films in the last two years. While The Great Gatsby and The Wolf on Wall Street are yet to be released, Django Unchained is in cinemas now.

Since getting his break in the film world back in 1993 playing a mentally challenged teenager in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Leonardo DiCaprio has gone on to become one of the most consistent, most versatile and most sought after actors. DiCaprio is one of my favourite actors so I have compiled a list of his top five most iconic performances. And it was incredibly hard, there are some big performances and big films that miss out, but feel free to tell me what you think in the comments. Here goes…

 

5. Jack Dawson – Titanic

As much as I don’t like Titanic and I don’t buy into the whole audience love for it that comes with the film there is no doubting that Titanic was the film that made DiCaprio ‘king of the world’ and really launched him into the limelight. Playing the young and poor Jack Dawson made DiCaprio an international heart throb and opened so many doors for him, allowing him to take his career in any direction he liked. The success that Titanic became has made sure that nobody could ever forget DiCaprio.

4. Calvin Candie – Django Unchained

Django Unchained marks the first time that DiCaprio plays the villain, and what a fine villain he makes. Calvin Candie is one of the most unlikeable character’s in film; he has so many moral issues and just because of the time period of the film he’s a despicable human being. But DiCaprio plays him with such menace and intensity that you just want to see more and more of him. It’s one of DiCaprio’s most enthralling and guiltily enjoyable performances.

3. Jim Carroll – The Basketball Diaries

Believe it or not, DiCaprio did have a career before Titanic. In 1995, a film was made of Jim Carroll’s juvenile diaries chronicling his kaleidoscopic free-fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. While there may be a few problems with the film (it’s not one of DiCaprio’s best) DiCaprio puts in a fantastic performance as the drug addicted teen and it is one that highlighted his acting talent very early on and it was plain to see he was made for stardom.

2. Howard Hughes – The Aviator

The Aviator is another biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and this one actually got him an Oscar nomination. DiCaprio shows Hughes’ rise to success in the field of aviation and film production and even more convincingly, brings us down with Hughes’ decline of mental health. It’s a wonderful film directed by Martin Scorsese and quite rightly got nominations over the board for the film as a whole and DiCaprio’s mesmerising performance.

1. Danny Archer – Blood Diamond

Another role that got DiCaprio nominated for an Oscar. This is one of his best performances and Blood Diamond is one of my favourite films that he has done. DiCaprio got critical acclaim for mastering the difficult South African accent and really puts in a flawless performance that shows his character develop from selfish smuggler to a hero. It’s a wonderful performance which is truly moving by the end of it, DiCaprio puts on a wonderful show.

So that’s my top greatest roles taken on by Leonardo DiCaprio. As you can see there are some brilliant movies that miss out: Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Shutter Island and Inception. For me, all this does is make clear that DiCaprio is one of the greatest actors of his generation with a filmography to match!

With the shock announcement that Disney have bought Star Wars and plan to release a completely new trilogy beginning in 2015 it is no wonder that speculation has already begun about who would be the best choice for director. Let’s look at some of the contenders:

Christopher Nolan

Fresh from directing one of the most lauded trilogies of all time in The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan could pretty much get any gig that he wanted which, let’s be honest, makes complete sense. Every one of Nolan’s films so far has gone down a treat and with Inception he certainly showed that he is more than capable of making a truly magnificent science fiction piece and this is something that the next instalment of Star Wars needs to be!

 

Bryan Singer

In a world as big as the one that Star Wars has built for itself the ability to handle and direct an ensemble cast is a must. With X-men and X2 Singer took on a similar challenge and managed to make a couple of the best superhero films to date. Therefore, this shows that Singer has what it takes to work with a large cast and bring out specific characters. Although, with the recent announcement he is set to helm Days of Future Past then he may be out of the question.

 

Brad Bird

Bird made his name at Pixar where he was given the go ahead to direct The Incredibles and obviously because it is Pixar, as well as the fact that it is brilliant, he received a lot of praise for his work. Earlier this year Brad Bird was responsible for reviving the Mission: Impossible franchise with Ghost Protocol and made the Tom Cruise franchise a relevant and important one once more; could he do the same for Star Wars?

 

Guillermo Del Toro

The fan knows fantasy, he knows special effects and can create huge blockbusters. Del Toro is well known for his ability to draw up strange creations and to let him loose on the world of Star Wars would be, for want of a better word, pretty orgasmic. Most notable for Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth Del Toro is set to announce his return to the world of huge blockbusters with Pacific Rim next year.

 

Jon Favreau

It was Favreau’s work with Iron Man that convinced Marvel (and importantly Disney) that superhero films were worth backing and proceeding with, culminating in The Avengers. With Iron Man 2 perhaps Favreau did have too much to do and it may be a case of that happening again with Star Wars: it would be a risk but one that could be worth taking, especially as the name of Star Wars is going to bring in the audience anyway.

 

Joss Whedon

A God among geeks. Does much more need to be said about the man’s talents? It is practically impossible for Whedon to direct Star Wars unfortunately as he has a pretty tight schedule with Marvel’s Phase 2 in place at the minute but a future Episode of the huge science fiction franchise, why not?

 

Duncan Jones

The least well known of all of my choices but not at all less talented. With Moon and Source Code in his back catalogue Jones has shown that he is more than capable of telling some brilliant science fiction stories. I would love to see Jones achieve some success and get a chance to show mainstream audiences his talent although maybe this would be a step too far a little too early.

 

Obviously, most of these directors are very commercial and well known to audiences already with a proven record of directing hit films and creating believable and memorable characters whilst exploring the world that their films inhabit. This is an important trait when deciding who is going to continue the Star Wars franchise but there may be some hidden gems hiding in cracks and crevices somewhere… or even in plain sight. So let me know, who would you like to see direct the seventh instalment of Star Wars?

Cillian Murphy strikes me as being a very interesting performer; I have seen quite a few of his films and always find his performances enthralling and I consider him to be a fantastic actor. For a time, though, it seemed as though acting would not be Murphy’s destination in life as his first real passion for entertaining was music. When in his teens and early twenties he formed a band with his brother, most of their (small scale) successes came while they performed under the name of The Sons of Mr. Greengenes. In 1996 the band were offered a five album record deal by Acid Jazz Records which the Murphy brothers had to turn down because Cillian’s brother Paidi was still in school. Murphy went on to attend University College Cork where he studied law and failed his first year exams; the reason being he had ‘no ambition to do it’ and later admitted that within days of starting the course he knew law wasn’t going to be it for him. So he came to be an actor.

Murphy started off his acting career on the stage where he quickly got noticed and then started making several short films and independent films in his home land of Ireland, including On the Edge and How Harry Became a Tree. It was a role in the film version of Disco Pigs (a role that was Murphy’s debut on the stage too) that he has to thank for the way his career has panned out afterwards as it was his performance here that brought him to the attention of Danny Boyle. Boyle was looking for someone to cast in the lead role of his film 28 Days Later and Murphy seemed to fit the bill. 28 Days Later subsequently became a hit all over the world and put Murphy in front of the huge crowds he could only ever have imagined. His performance earned rave reviews and Boyle was hailed for finding such a talented unknown actor.

Murphy starred alongside Colin Farrell in Intermission which became the highest grossing Irish film at the Irish box office ever (the record was broken in 2006 but Intermission held it for a while nonetheless) and Murphy also bagged himself supporting roles in his first Hollywood features: Cold Mountain and The Girl With the Pearl Earring. Even with his new found fame and success Murphy still returned to the stage and toured Ireland in theatre roles proving that he still had great affection for his beginnings. Then he got a call that would change anyone’s career…

Cillian Murphy was asked to come and audition for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2005’s Batman Begins. Murphy himself suggested that he knew he wouldn’t get the part because he didn’t have the physique to play a superhero yet he went and auditioned anyway. Director Christopher Nolan was so impressed with his performance that he cast Cillian Murphy in the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow, the villain. He also appeared as the villain in Red Eye, a thriller in which he was the antagonist to Rachel McAdams’ protagonist. Murphy received huge acclaim for his villainous roles and got himself a handful of nominations at several awards shows.

Making it big in Hollywood didn’t change Murphy though and he once again returned to his roots to make Irish film Breakfast on Pluto, in which he played a transgender Irish foundling in search of her mother. Murphy had actually auditioned for the role back in 2001 but director Neil Jordan was hesitant to make the film so soon after his earlier works; Murphy continually tried to get Jordan to make the film before Murphy was too old to play the part and Breakfast on Pluto was eventually made. I think that this shows Murphy has a serious passion for his career and is desperate to take on roles that will not only challenge him as an actor but also challenge that audience’s perception of Murphy.

In 2007 Cillian Murphy reteamed with Danny Boyle to make science fiction film Sunshine, in which Murphy had the lead role. This is the first film that I remember seeing Murphy in and actually knowing who he was and it was this performance that led me to search for some of his earlier works because I thought the film was fantastic and Murphy himself was brilliant to watch. Another director who clearly found Murphy a great actor to work with is Christopher Nolan as he not only cast him in his masterpiece Inception but also allowed Murphy to reprise his roles in his Batman sequels: The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.

And even appearing in one of the biggest, most loved and most successful trilogies of all time still can’t keep Cillian Murphy away from Ireland as he continues to ply his trade in independent cinema with turns in Perrier’s Bounty and Broken. Cillian Murphy is an actor who clearly loves his work and he has a very clear idea of how he wants his career to go as he aims to work with Michel Gondry, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. Yet it is amazing that he still remains down to earth, very genuine, humble and homely; despite being friends with fellow Irish actors Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson Murphy’s closest friends remain those he had before he became successful, he keeps his private life just that which is why not many people may know him as they should. Best of all, I think, Murphy could have his pick of Hollywood films if he wanted but he won’t have because he refuses to move to Los Angeles full time because he doesn’t wish to distance himself from his family. What a nice guy!

Christopher Nolan is an absolute genius. I love him as a director and a storyteller; every single one of his films, be it Memento, Inception or The Dark Knight trilogy are wonderful masterpieces of cinema and The Prestige is no different. Released in 2006, The Prestige is based on the 1995 novel of the same name written by Christopher Priest, the novel was adapted into a screenplay by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan.

The Prestige is a very complicated telling of a very complex professional and personal rivalry of two magicians. As young aspiring magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) were friends and colleagues until a trick went wrong and Angier’s wife was killed. Angier blamed Borden for this as he suspects Borden tied an unbreakable knot around his wife’s wrists before a drowning trick. This leads to a rivalry that becomes an obsession for the both of them; each man obsesses with what the other man is doing and how he is doing it, both men sabotaging each other’s tricks in attempts to discredit or even murder their opponents. It is a deadly rivalry revolving around the greatest trick of all time: Borden’s Transported Man.

Jackman and Bale lead the cast brilliantly. Bale is somewhat of an enigma to me where his acting skills are concerned, despite always putting in a solid performance I often feel as if he has more to give and that he is holding something back but as we move forward through The Prestige it becomes clear that Bale is giving his best. Scarlett Johansson is the lead female playing the beautiful assistant to Angier, then Borden, Olivia Wenscombe who becomes both a pawn and a player within their games. I think that Olivia is an example of Nolan not really knowing entirely what to do with female characters as she seems to lack the motivation the two male leads are given and she often comes across as just a lovesick blonde. The remaining supporting cast consists of Michael Caine, Andy Serkis and David Bowie who perform very well as you would expect (maybe not of Bowie but he proves he has a talent for this).

Alfred Borden and Robert Angier are wonderful characters. They are both completely believable and Nolan does a great job of blurring the lines of morality between the two; neither are wholly good or wholly bad and I believe that the audience can choose which side to take (perhaps only after sitting through multiple viewings though). The Prestige is told in a non-linear fashion and shoots back and forth between the present day and the past as the characters attempt to discover each other’s secrets through reading their diaries. The plots then come together and once they do the film really draws to a perfect finale. The final act, or ‘the prestige’, of Nolan’s phenomenal film has more twists than a bag of pretzels, each one being more significant than the last.

The rewatchability factor of The Prestige is right up there. Watching over and over again you see more and more clues that give away the ending which you don’t see the first time round because “you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled”. The whole film is layered in foreshadowing, clue after clue to what the ending is working towards but if you don’t know then you won’t see it coming, you won’t work it out no matter how much you let your mind run wild yet it is so simple.

The Prestige may get forgotten about among Nolan’s works next to the originality of Memento and Inception and the hype around The Dark Knight but seriously, this is a perfect example of a story being told to the best it can be. Nolan proves himself to be a true magician behind the camera with this film carved into his very own magic trick: the Pledge, the Turn and finally, the hardest part of all, the Prestige.

My Rating: 10/10

UK Release Date: 14th September 2012.

Plot: In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.

Stars: David Koepp (director), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Jamie Chung.

As anyone who reads my blog will know, I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt; he is a fantastic actor and usually he picks great roles (Inception, 50/50, 500 Days of Summer etc.) but this trailer does nothing to enhance his reputation.

The plot sounds interesting and it should make a good action thriller which is what Premium Rush is being marketed as but the trailer doesn’t contain too much action and does not look that thrilling. Most of the trailer seems to be taken up by Joseph Gordon-Levitt being hit by cars and he must be pretty strong to survive that many crashes.

Premium Rush only really came to my attention this morning and when I looked at the cast I was looking forward to viewing the trailer but I feel let down. It left me feeling rather bored with it and did nothing to increase my anticipation for the film and only managed to decrease my interest.

Hopefully this is just a bad trailer and the actual film will be all right but I wouldn’t bank on it too much.

 

Whilst there is no news that Daniel Craig has any intention of stepping down as the English special agent, there are always rumours flying around about who will be next to portray James Bond. Skyfall is released later this year and will be Craig’s third Bond film; although he is contracted for another five outings it seems unlikely that Craig will make it this far as he is already 44 years old and these blockbusters take a while to make, especially if there are delays to future films as there have been to Skyfall. So who will be next to don the suit and become James Bond? Here are my five nominations:

  

Henry Cavill

Having had bit parts in a few films during his career, Cavill was then cast as a main character in the BBC’s hit drama The Tudors where he stayed up until 2010 before deciding to try his hands at films once more and, last year, starred in Immortals. Coming up very soon Cavill stars in The Cold Light of Day which will see him put his action skills to the test. Cavill auditioned for James Bond before Daniel Craig was given the nod as producers felt Cavill was too young. But being that extra few years older now could see him as the favourite for the role. This must be a long shot now, however, as since then Cavill has gone on to win the role of Clark Kent (or Superman, as you might know him) in the upcoming superhero reboot.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch

Here is a British actor taking Hollywood by storm. Best known to audiences for portraying Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s modern adaptation of the famous detective, he is now moving into films. He has recently starred in two critical successes War Horse and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and has a role in the sequel to JJ Abrams Star Trek and has two roles Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit. His name has been banded about by fans of Sherlock as a possible successor to Daniel Craig and having already portrayed Sherlock Holmes, Cumberbatch knows the pressures of playing an iconic character.

 

Tom Hardy

Hardy is without a doubt one of the best British actors of the moment. He has starred in hit after hit with Bronson, RocknRolla, Warrior, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Inception and will soon be playing the villain in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. There is no doubting this man’s talents; he has past experience of playing a spy, showing his serious side in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and his charming and funny side in the less serious This Means War. Hardy always throws his all into any acting role and has expressed an interest in playing Bond, although that relies on Christopher Nolan directing, which does not seem very probable at all.

 

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender is fast becoming a wanted man in Hollywood with his performances gaining praise whatever he does. After bursting onto the scene, the half-Irish, half-German actor has become a favourite of mainstream audiences. When X-Men First Class was released there were many comments about the similarities between James Bond and Fassbender’s Magneto at the beginning of the film. There is no doubt that Fassbender has the ability to carry off the part if he was given it but with his commitments to the X-Men it may be hard to find time within his schedule.

 

Dominic Cooper

Okay, so this suggestion is a bit out there but Dominic Cooper is a fine British talent and deserves more recognition across mainstream audiences than he gets at the minute. I think that he definitely looks like a guy who could play James Bond and despite having a career more geared towards drama and romance he is stepping into action films; he was in Captain America and will soon be seen in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. He may not have the full set yet, but who knows, when the time comes Cooper might be in with a shout.

 

I think that the next James Bond definitely has to be British. Bond is an English spy and so an English actor is necessary, although with the recent influx of British actors taking over American icons such as Batman, Superman and Spider-man film makers may feel that the nationality of the actor is no longer important. Daniel Craig still has the suit at the minute though and this is purely speculation, but my choice would definitely be Tom Hardy.

 

Are 3D Movies Already Dying?

Despite numerous past attempts, 3D films have never really taken off in the past but since 2003(ish) there has been a resurgence of 3D films in mainstream cinema. There have been films made specifically for the purpose of being 3D and then films that have been shot in 2D have been transformed into 3D films and this happens with both live action and animated features. But is 3D really needed?

Avatar was praised hugely for the use of 3D

Two of modern cinema’s most successful directors have a different approach to making films in 3D. I am talking of James Cameron and Christopher Nolan. Cameron embraces 3D; his film Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time and that was made in 3D, whilst Nolan decided against using the effect on Inception and The Dark Knight Rises as, although he has seen 3D work well, he claimed it restricted what they were able to do. So that’s what the professionals think, what about audiences?

In 2010, 28 films were released in 3D and that number rose to 47 in 2011. However, takings for 3D films dropped by seven million pound despite more films being made in the format, showing that audiences were not going to see 3D films as much as they had been; something the studios have taken into consideration and the number of films being released in 3D this year (2012) is down to 33. Perhaps audiences have now experimented with 3D films and decided that they do not like them.

The final Harry Potter was the highest grossing 3D film of 2011, yet more people saw it in 2D.

So why are people not going to watch films in 3D? The price is one reason. Cinema ticket prices are on the increase all the time it seems and the price for drinks and popcorn is absolutely ludicrous. If you want to go see a film in 3D that bumps the price up by another two or three pound, therefore if you want a 3D film, a drink and popcorn you’re looking at spending nearly £15 probably to see a film. And if that film ends up being more like Clash of the Titans than Up then you’re going to feel more than a little bit ripped off.

Reason two: the really stupid glasses that everyone is forced to wear. Sure, they look better than the cardboard glasses you used to get with one blue lens and one red lens which made pictures seem 3D in magazines etc. but they are going to hurt your nose. Nobody wants to sit for two hours and feel like their nose is being crushed by these bricks you are forced to wear to enjoy the film in all it’s ‘glory’.

You don't need 3D to enjoy Woody and Buzz!

And finally, does 3D really add anything to the film? The films I have seen in 3D (Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After, Thor, among others) have not really benefited from the technology. I’m not saying that the 3D didn’t look good, because it did, but I would have quite happily watched these films in 2D and still felt the same.

In my opinion, 3D was a scheme by studio bosses to try and make audiences fork out more money for the films as almost every decision made high up is about money. But audiences have now seen a 3D film or two and decided that they are quite happy with 2D without the intimacy this new effect offers. I could quite happily go the rest of my life without watching another 3D film. I know some people enjoy it and good for them, but I am yet to see a reason why it is needed.

He is considered by many to be one of the greatest directors of the modern world and by the time he eventually retires his name will undoubtedly be up there with the all time true greats of film making. By comic book fans he is thought of as the man who saved Batman from it’s earlier embarrassments in the cinema and Warner Bros. now have him producing Man of Steel, the new Superman movie, in hope that he can bring another hero back from the cinema dead zone. However, Christopher Nolan does have his haters, but why? Is he really THAT good?

Without exception every single one of the feature length films directed by Christopher Nolan has been a critical success. Whether it be the small scale Memento or the huge big budget summer blockbuster that is Inception, Nolan never fails to impress the critics. Nolan has been nominated for three Oscars (one for directing, another two for writing) and despite not yet winning the award he is being recognised by his peers as one of the best directors around.

Nolan’s writing prides itself upon it’s mysteries. Memento was something new, something brilliant. And the mystery was kept going by the fact that the film played out backwards and nobody, not even the main character, knew what was going on. The Prestige had a fantastic shock ending that nobody had predicted upon first watch, yet when watching again it becomes clear that Nolan has left some clues along the way for any viewer intelligent enough to spot them. All the while, Nolan is teaching the arts of a magic trick whilst creating his own in The Prestige at the same time. The essence of mystery is something Nolan followed through with Inception and I think everyone who left the cinema after seeing Inception got confused at least once whilst watching and the ending still causes arguments a couple of years on (even though it is pretty clear what the ending actually is if you look for the clues).

However, one of Nolan’s biggest downfalls is his writing of female characters. This is a criticism that is levelled at the director again and again, upon the release of every one of his films and audiences have a point. The female characters in Nolan’s films have very little purpose but to act as plot devices and have an effect on the main character; in themselves they have little story and virtually no development. Scarlett Johansson in The Prestige is a good example of this and Ariadne in Inception too, along with the women in his Batman films. There really seems no need for them to be there and they add next to nothing to the story. With the inclusion of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises it seems maybe Nolan is trying to prove that he can write a captivating female character to compete with the men of his films.

It has been said that Nolan gets the best out of all the actors he works with, but look at the people he has worked with: Guy Pearce, Al Pacino, Robin Williams, the brilliant Hilary Swank, Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine… the list goes on. Point is, every one of the aforementioned actors was already established and thought of as a very good, if not some of the best, performers at the time. Even I could have made a film with Michael Caine and Leonardo DiCaprio and got good performances from them because they are already brilliant actors! Nolan doesn’t seem to challenge himself, but then again, if you can work with the best around then you’re going to do that and who can really blame him.

As briefly mentioned earlier, Christopher Nolan has brought a new life and new energy to an otherwise dead and buried franchise in the form of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, the latter being described as one of the best films of all time. It may be a stretch but Nolan could be seen as the saviour of comic book films. Before him, of course, there was already Spider-Man and X-men that had been successful but Nolan showed what successes comic book movies have the potential to be.

Whether you like him or not nobody with a sensible view on movies can argue that Christopher Nolan is not a good director. His films are among the best of modern cinema and he is definitely one of my top three directors of all time. With The Dark Knight Rises coming out this year it seems certain that Nolan is set to rise yet again and receive even more praise as he brings the curtain down on one of the best trilogies of all time.

The hype surrounding this man is definitely justified.