Nolan Films and Their Use of Time
Christopher Nolan is a renowned filmmaker known for several world famous films that have broken box office records. His films often feature niche, esoteric, science fiction concepts involving relativity, dreams and the subconscious, and most commonly time. Nolan’s fixation on the concept of time is a recurring theme throughout many of his films. Let’s explore some of his best films and see how time as a concept was played with through the visual medium of film.
Inception is one of Nolan’s most well known films, featuring Leonardo di Caprio, Tom Hardy, and Cillian Murphy. In this film, Nolan plays with the idea of a heist movie set literally within different characters’ dreams. Di Caprio’s character attempts to perform ‘inception’, a technique where you can insert an idea into somebody’s subconscious and make them think it was their own. In this film, time flows differently depending on what level of a dream you’re in, leading to some insane sequences where various timelines are synchronized together during a grand climax.
Interstellar is another film which makes use of time, and this time in a much more scientific manner. In this grand space exploration film, relativity causes time to flow differently depending on what planet you’re in, or where you’re orbiting in your spacecraft. In the crucial climax of the film, Matthew McConaughey’s character Cooper is able to communicate with his daughter in the past to allow her to discover the secrets of gravity and save humanity from a dying Earth.
Finally, probably the most complex and ambitious film in Nolan’s filmography is Tenet, a film where characters interact with time flowing both forwards and backwards at the same time. This film has trippy sequences where certain characters are running backward, yet for them in their perspective time is running backward relative to them. With backwards running villains, reverse bullets and reverse fight sequences, this film is truly a treat for the senses.