Tag Archive: jonathan nolan


With the success of Skyfall and Sam Mendes’ direction it appears that the James Bond franchise is now in an enviable position. For the first time in a few years, the director’s chair on the next Bond film is a coveted seat indeed and so far, only A-list directors are being linked to the role. So let’s take a look at the possible candidates…
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SAM MENDES

Bond 23, or Skyfall if you want to call it by it’s proper name, broke into the top ten highest grossing films of all time and was loved by audiences and critics alike. Part of that reason was the direction which was masterfully handed by Sam Mendes. Early reports suggested that Mendes had refused to return for Bond 24 but if you believe what you read, Mendes is right back in the frame and surely should be the first choice.

What to expect if Mendes directs? Brilliant character development and lots of Oscar buzz but no Oscars.
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CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

From Memento right through to The Dark Knight Rises, every one of Nolan’s films has been critically acclaimed. The Dark Knight, under Nolan’s supervision, is arguably the best film of recent years and one of the best of all time. A technically gifted director who puts a great deal of thought into everything he does, if he gets his usual team of Jonathan Nolan and Wally Pfister together again, it could be a masterpiece.

What to expect if Nolan directs? Bond will either be dreaming, a twin or… Michael Caine.
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ANG LEE

Ang Lee hasn’t had it all his own way since he began making films in Hollywood but he does hit more often than he misses. Sam Mendes became the first Oscar winning director to direct a Bond film, how do you top that? Employ a man who has two Oscars. Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi both won Lee the Oscar for Best Director and would no doubt keep Bond at the elevated status Mendes has now given him.

What to expect if Lee directs? A touching love story between Bond and Q.
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NICOLAS WINDING REFN

Perhaps the least recognisable name on this list among mainstream audiences, Refn has had an extremely good few years. Since Pusher Refn has received critical acclaim and his 2011 film Drive became an instant classic and was loved for its character development and theme heavy plot. However, his most recent effort Only God Forgives has divided early audiences with its controversial content.

What to expect is Refn directs? Brutal fight scenes leaving Bond scarred for life on every limb.
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BEN AFFLECK

Affleck has not been linked with the director’s role… until now! Since shifting his focus from acting to directing Affleck has become hot property. Gone Baby Gone, The Town and the Oscar winning Argo have won Affleck a lot of fans, with his oversight for a nomination at the Oscars being one of the most controversial topics surrounding the ceremony this year.

What to expect is Affleck directs? Bond 24 to win Best Motion Picture but Affleck to not even be nominated.
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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

Joel and Ethan Coen are very very recognisable names in the world of film making with almost all of their films achieving critical acclaim, the same can be said of Christopher Nolan and his occasional collaborator, the less famous brother Jonathan Nolan. There is no doubt that these two sets of brothers have a huge talent for film making and I think everyone has at least seen a film by each of them, if not count it among their favourite movies of all time.

The Coens are two of only seven directors to win three Oscars for one film.

The Coen brothers are the seasoned professionals of the two having been making movies since Blood Simple in 1984. Joel and Ethan are a perfect partnership; they write, produce, direct and edit all of their films together and rightly share joint credits in doing so. Their back catalogue of movies includes big hitters such as The Big Lebowski, Fargo, True Grit and No Country For Old Men; there aren’t many directors that can claim to have such a wealth of superb films in their locker.

The year is 1998: enter Christopher Nolan. Nolan first worked with his brother Jonathan on the absolutely fantastic Memento, adapted from Jonathan’s short story. Whilst not working together on every project like the Coen brothers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have written The Dark Knight (often cited as one of the best films of all time), The Prestige and one of the most anticipated films of this year, The Dark Knight Rises, together. Some might say these films have enough about them to challenge the very best of the Coen brothers themselves.

The working partnership between the two brothers is obviously very different but there is no doubt that all four individuals have a huge love for the cinema and a passion to bring incredible films to huge, happy audiences. The films that the brothers make are also very different in themselves; the Nolan films, aside from Memento, are huge blockbusters with big budgets, whereas the Coen films are smaller scale, more intimate and more character related (something that Christopher Nolan might disagree with but this is my opinion).

The Nolans’ The Dark Knight is considered one of the all time greatest movies.

If we go by the highest accolade in film making, the Academy Awards we would believe that the Coens were the better of the two partnerships, racking up 33 Oscar nominations for their films collectively, winning six of them, including two for screenwriting and one for directing. The films written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have garnered 12 nominations, including two wins. However, with the Nolans having done only three films together it is highly likely that if they continue to work together their Oscar count will rise higher than the Coens’.

In my opinion, the experience that the Coen brothers have over the Nolans gives them the edge and I really believe that they make some of the best movies of our time, True Grit and No Country For Old Men being two of my favourites of theirs. Whilst the Nolans do make terrific films, there is no doubt about that, I feel that they still have a long way to go before being as good as the Coens but if they continue on the road they are on and continue to write films together than I have no doubt that they will surpass the directing duo that currently sits at the top of the tree.

One thing is for sure though, I will continue to enjoy the films made by the Nolans and the Coens for as long as they make movies. Film fans are lucky to have two such magnificent partnerships working today to create absolute works of art.