July 15, 2017

Watch: 12 Trademarks You'll See in Pretty Much Every Christopher Nolan Film

Though Christopher Nolan has a pretty diverse filmography, there's a handful of signature characteristics in each of his films that remind you of his unique brand of filmmaking.

Whether he's filming neo-noirs, sci-fi adventures, or superhero flicks, Christopher Nolan has a way of infusing his unique flavor of cerebral cinema, complete with bleakness, complicated intellectual acrobatics, and total mind-f**kery. And while most fans know about Nolan's penchant for putting audiences through the metaphysical gauntlet (and then laughing maniacally while he watches them try to make sense of everything), what are some of the Oscar-nominee's other cinematic trademarks? ScreenPrism explores twelve of them in the video below:

Though you may not be able to pinpoint a film by Christopher Nolan as quickly and easily as you would, say, a film by Wes Anderson or Quentin Tarantino, you do get to peer a bit more into the depths of the director's psyche. Nolan's brand of cinema shows us what excites his intellect, what intrigues him, what confuses him. So many of his films explore the metaphysical world and its many mysterious unanswered questions—What is time? What is truth? What is fact? What does it mean to exist?  

But again, ScreenPrism does a great job of highlighting the many techniques and characteristics Nolan comes back to in order to tell his stories. So, to answer the central question of the video: "You know it's a Christopher Nolan movie if..."

  • there's a non-linear story
  • there's a subjective point of view
  • the story makes you a detective
  • there is an ambiguous ending
  • characters have a split identity
  • there is moral ambiguity
  • there is expressive lighting
  • you see characteristics of film noir
  • there are digital and practical effects
  • it's self-referential
  • it deals with common themes, like revenge, anger, and guilt
  • Wally Pfister is behind the camera (and a number of recurring cast and crew)

What are some other trademarks in Christopher Nolan's films? Let us know in the comments below.      

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3 Comments

Awesome...
his films are amazing. Great reference for film maniacs.

July 16, 2017 at 2:43AM, Edited July 16, 2:43AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
611

Musical score

July 16, 2017 at 8:01AM

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Heath and Interstellar are overrated.

July 16, 2017 at 2:20PM

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Jake
189

Overrated is an overrated word.

July 16, 2017 at 2:42PM

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