The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan

Tom Shone. Knopf, $40 (416p) ISBN 978-0-525-65532-9
Drawing on interviews conducted over three years, film critic Shone (The Irishman: The Making of the Movie) shines a light on Christopher Nolan, who has “long perfected the art of talking about his films while giving away nothing about himself.” Shone devotes a chapter to each of Nolan’s films, from his 1998 debut, Following, to the forthcoming Tenet, while tracing a few common themes. These include what the Anglo-American Nolan gained from his teenage years attending a “really establishment, old-fashioned” U.K. boarding school (principally, “how to relate to an establishment you’re inherently rebelling against but can’t push too far”). Another is the counterpoint between his exacting planning while scripting and shooting (“rules are very important” in giving a fantastical story credibility) and his openness to experimentation and “surprise,” as when he unexpectedly discovered the perfect last shot for The Dark Knight in unedited stunt footage. Shone also emphasizes the importance of collaboration for Nolan, including with composer Hans Zimmer (who “teaches me a new musical term with each film”) and Inception’s star Leonardo DiCaprio, whom Nolan credits with pushing the project from a genre heist film toward a “more character-based direction.” Shone provides thoughtful context for Nolan’s commentary, but readers will most value Nolan’s own words about his work. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/06/2020
Release date: 10/20/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-525-65533-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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