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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Chris Nolan Rises

By now it must be irrefutable that Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest film-makers working today, and I would argue till I am blue in the face with anyone who says he has made a single feature that is not a superb example of the film-making art. He can do it all, complex, thought-provoking, exciting, adventurous, heart-rending, challenging, cerebral. He has taken mind-bending arthouse conception and made it mainstream with 'Memento', he has taken crime drama and elevated it to art with 'Insomnia', made recording slight of hand an unexpected delight with 'The Prestige', but the greatest trick that he ever pulled, his greatest achievement to date must be his realisation of the cinematic holy grail, the one thing that everyone from the business men to the punters; the technicians to the marketeers; the film buffs to the thespians have been craving for decades, an action triology that is good all the way through, an action triolgy that is intellegent, surprising, rewarding and successful. With Batman that is what he has done. Okay, it's not perfect, no film is. In this latest installement there is still a quibble or two. Bane's voice is annoying. Presumably the queer Dickensian tone was chosen to draw a distinction between it and Bale's gravelly drawl, but there is no obvious rationale for such sub Carry On comic accent. Also, Warner Brothers can expect a class action suit for whiplash after the tirade of cuts in the last 15 minutes, but these are quibbles, when the whole is an audaciously grand construction of a scale dwarfing most blockbusters, beautifully capturing the feel of the Batman stories, and not drenching them in stultifying darkness as has been done before, but having the courage to shine a light on the man behind the mask. Because Nolan knows that a blockbuster is just a big empty shell if it is not peopled by living breathing characters. They are here in abundance, and it is the very personal loves, friendships, rivlarlies and hatreds between them that drive the movie, that fill Nolan's magnificent construction with life. And in the end it all pays off, the huge set pieces, the fights, the flashbacks, the fiesty dialogue, the human relationships, every element is resolved, tied up and presented to the viewer with a big bow on it. Nolan knows what we want, he knows how to present it to us, and he provides it to us in spades - satisfaction.

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