Stop pretending to think…
… and start really thinking. I am talking, as you could take from my featured image, about Christopher Nolan’s movies and the effect they have on people.
Nolan is a complicated creature. His movies are entertaining and brain-teasing at the same time, which I believe gets people disoriented. As a film-maker, I believe this to be his intention, so take that as you will 🙂
I don’t aim to make a thorough analysis of the man’s work throughout his life. Over the last ten years or so, Nolan has had a very positive habit of making movies between the individual parts of his Dark Knight Trilogy and, to make a point rather than beating around it, I will be talking about the last two of these works, kindly naming them his “clean the pallette” movies. A mention of The Prestige could even be warranted here, but would distort from the main issue and privy you of the pleasure in finding the same meaning I will try to put to Inception and, especially, Interstellar there.
Let’s get to the point.
Is Dom Cobb out of the dream in Inception? How many rules of theoretical physics were not obeyed in Interstellar? Why did I underline the bold word theoretical?
Interstellar is a prime example of Christopher Nolan begrudgingly smearing people’s own theories on their faces. The fact that his movie is as plausible as it gets for science-fiction makes the general point of the movie all the more important. Realism is a means, not an end, because the movie is exactly about the daring experience into the unknown, or better said, the impossible, as a means to save the entire human race. The movie is about what happens when feasibility is just not enough and adventure is a desperate consequence of the limitations our smartest people put on our table.
You’re probably asking yourself what the heck I am talking about. Spoilers ahead.
Think back on Interstellar. Especially key moments, such as Coop leaving against his daughter’s wishes, the discussion of what planet to visit next between Coop and Dr. Brandt, the breathtaking re-docking scene (“it’s not possible, it’s necessary”) and, finally, Coop taking a ride into a black-hole, because “why not”. Interstellar is not about physics, not about adventure… It is the ultimate movie about love and the fact that superior human beings have discovered that it is a most powerful force that transcends physics alltogether. Love does not obey time, it is not held by gravity, it is just there! And every time in this movie, that a decision between the rational and the emotional had to me made, they amazingly failed using the former and ultimately succeeded through the latter. Had they gone to Wolf’s planet in the first place, everything would be fine and dandy. They went the logical way, and people died.
Think about it! Nolan don’t do closure! So why the heck did he still need to specify that Coop needed to go back for Brandt? How did his daughter even know that Brandt was left behind? It is the culmination of emotion triumphing over rational explanation in this movie. Do you really still think that it is of importance, if that tesseract was realistically portrayed or not? Who cares?!? We have bigger things to care about.
Care to take me on a dare? What does Inception have to do with anything here?
Well, the internet was burning with wise-crackers trying to find a definitive answer as to wether or not that top toppled or not… Seriously guys, the fact that the main character didn’t care should have been enough of a message. Does Dom CARE if he’s stuck in a dream or not? The guy was yammering throughout the entire film about seeing his kids again. He got what he was pursuing. He rolled the top and, as soon as he saw James and Philippa, he just rushed to them and left the top there, not giving a darn to what happened to it. What Nolan is trying to tell us, is that neither should you!
It is a beautiful message, one that I believe Nolan does not care to explicitly communicate to his audience. If this comes through as arrogant to you, that’s because it is. I’ve never met and unfortunately am probably never going to meet Christopher Nolan, so I second your concern of this post being a good guess at best. However, I trust this to be as good as any explanation and comforts me in knowing that, through a glimmer of hope, portraying his films as just “goal oriented” might be the most satisfactory way to explain the brain-tease behind them.