Director: Christopher Nolan
Nolan is a three-time Academy Award nominated director… but he’s never been nominated for directing. He made his first film, Following with a budget of only six thousand dollars. It was quickly selected as part of the Criterion Collection, and helped Nolan raise enough money to make his second film, Memento, for which Nolan (and his brother, Jonathan) received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Nolan then went on to make his first supposed Hollywood hit, Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, Hilary Swank and Robin Williams. The film received mixed reviews (but, like all of his films, was a box office success) and Nolan sort of stumbled into something brilliant… a new Batman trilogy.
When Batman Begins first came out the general population was thinking… why? We just had a run of mediocre Batman sequels in the late 90s, and the hero’s popularity had taken a dramatic dip since its rise in the 80s. But Nolan went ahead with Batman Begins, enlisting Christian Bale as his lead. By throwing together an all-star cast (including Liam Neeson, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman) Nolan found himself at the helm of a brand new multi-million dollar film franchise… but he immediately stepped away to make the Prestige - a film about magicians?
The critical reception to the Prestige was about as mixed as could be (personally, I think it’s his worst film) but still he found success in the box office. Next came a film that was far more groundbreaking than anyone could have imagined. The Dark Knight was so much more than a superhero film, or a summer blockbuster, it was an event. The movie cost a cool 185 million dollars to make… but ended its box office run by grossing over a billion dollars.
Nolan’s career was complete within a decade after the release of his first ever film. The man could now do anything he wanted… and apparently he wanted to loosely adapt (aka whitewash) Satoshi Kon’s Paprika. But it worked, and Inception dominated the summer of 2010. Now, it seems, Nolan’s films are destined to be summer blockbusters, and he’s now had three films in a row make over 800 million dollars in the box office (including the sadly just-above-average the Dark Knight Rises).
Though Nolan has yet to win an Oscar, it’s literally awesome (inspires awe) when you consider the amount this man has accomplished since self-producing/editing/writing/directing/photographing his first feature just fifteen years ago. And he’s not done yet - no, not by a long shot. This summer Nolan has taken on a new superhero…. Superman.