One of the most well-known filmmakers contemporary filmmakers in the world, Christopher Nolan is known for his complex interpretations of the sci-fi genre. Building on the unprecedented success of the Dark Knight Trilogy, Nolan has gone on to direct multiple beloved films like Inception and Interstellar. However, his latest project Tenet has failed to impress most of his fans who criticised the unnecessarily convoluted time-travel flick.
Nolan challenged the critical consensus by defending his artistic vision, claiming that Tenet is a unique project that deserves to be praised for what it is: “The idea that you’d watch a large-scale studio blockbuster and come out feeling like maybe there are things I didn’t understand that I should go back and take a look at or whatever. I think that’s kind of fun.”
Adding, “As an audience member, I’ve always enjoyed movies that, if you want to see it a second time, you’re going to see a different movie. You’re going to see different layers in it… My job as a filmmaker is to make sure that the first time you see the movie, you are entertained and you are gripped and that, you can’t lose sight of.”
Over the course of his life, several sci-fi masterpieces have affected Christopher Nolan very deeply. He has always maintained how watching Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus 2001: A Space Odyssey on a big screen changed his life and opened his eyes to the magic of cinema. However, the one film he has watched countless times is Ridley Scott’s neo-noir gem Blade Runner.
While discussing the impact of Blade Runner on his journey into the world of cinema, Nolan recalled: “For me, the next really seminal film was Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. I first watched it on VHS, I was too young to go in the cinema… Even on that small screen, something about the immersion of that world and the creation of that world really spoke to me and I watched that film hundreds of times – literally hundreds of times.”
The filmmaker revealed: “From a pragmatic point of view, Blade Runner is actually one of the most successful films of all time in terms of constructing that reality using sets. On Batman Begins, unlike The Dark Knight, we found ourselves having to build the streets of Gotham in large part. So I immediately gravitated toward the visual treatment that Ridley Scott had come up with, in terms of how you shoot these massive sets to make them feel real and not like impressive sets.”
After the failure of Tenet, Nolan is currently working on a period piece set during World War II which will focus on the figure of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his contributions towards the creation of the atom bomb. While there are no release dates for Nolan’s new Oppenheimer film yet, some sources have claimed that Cillian Murphy from Peaky Blinders is attached to the project.
Listen to Christopher Nolan talk about the life-changing influence of Blade Runner in the interview clip linked below.