Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nolan versus Nolan.

File:Christopher nolan.jpgFile:Christopher nolan.jpgFile:Christopher nolan.jpg

By Gaurav Parab

No spoilers alert follow. Although fan boy rambling does. Raw, unedited, pure fan boy rambling. Seriously, what does Nolan smoke when he does these things?

I don't do movie reviews. I don't care much for the way a camera is held or the difference between cinematography and cinemascope. Heck, I cant even pronounce genre the same way twice in a row.

The critics say it is good but not great. Its ninety nine out of hundred. It is the 110 meters hurdles not the 100 meter dash. A wild racehorse, not a thorough bred. Witty Twists of phrase. Good cinema, not epic. A thousand word movie review. We cant always sound the same and praise Nolan to heaven and back. That is not allowed.

I am not a movie critic. I am actually completely unqualified to write a movie review. And naturally, this lack of expertise  unshackles me from the burden of picking holes or looking for a place to remove that one star out of five to stop calling TDKRs perfect.

The truth is this movie is perfect. Just like the previous movie was. Or the one before that. The truth is this is not a movie. This is a work of art. Perfect. The truth is Chris Nolan has built a museum over the last fifteen odd years. And each movie is a painting meant to be kept in a separate room. Not to be compared, but to be admired on its own merits. 

And here is why. Here is the problem statement for Nolan even before those bulky IMAX cameras were unwrapped.

1) You have made one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. The studio wants you to outdo your previous successes. Everyone in the civilized world has heard about The Dark Knight. Those who haven't call it That Batman Movie in high pitched voices. 

2) The villain is important to your story as much as his designs are. You have arguable created the biggest villain of all time. But now you are expected to top it. Create an adversary worthy of the caped crusader. (* The term caped crusader may sound like one, but is not a sandwich.)

3) No one in the past thirty odd years ( I say thirty because it is a good wholesome round number) has made more intellectually churning movies than you. You are not competing against anyone else, you are competing against yourself. 

Michael Bay should not be allowed to breathe in the air that you breathe. His mention on the same web page as your name should be outlawed. He should be ideally thrown eight or eleven hyperlinks away. I slap myself for this crime. Unpardonable.

If Nolan's mind is where cinema is made, Bay's mind is where thirteen year olds go and take a piss.

4) You have to please the comic fan boys. They are the ones whose hearts own The Dark Knight. They are the ones who used to do the paper beat in Houston, and double up as a pizza delivery boys in Chicago to buy that shiny little DC comic special edition. ( Or whatever Americans do when they want to buy comic books)

5) You have to please the rest of the world who want to see a pure blockbuster. The crowd that likes a piece of trash like the avengers. The crowd who wonders why is the Cat Woman never referred to as the Cat Woman even once in your movie.

You have made the pill for an incurable disease. Now everyone expects you to make it taste like candy. What do you do. What do you do ? Mr. Nolan, what do you smoke.

The answer is The Dark Knight Rises. A name so cliched, so common place, and so much of a sellout that its like calling a Tendulkar straight drive a shot that fetched four runs. But even the freaking name makes sense after you see the movie. And that is the key. Everything is tied up. Every challenge from one to five is dealt with. Not head on, but through taking detours to dodge them.

How do you top a blockbuster of the size of The Dark Knight ? Well you create a scale so large that at the risk of sounding blasphemous - the joker's goals almost seem petty. In movies, we have seen good men jailed. We have seen the world hit by meteors. We have seen it end, and then watched in horror as software programs reboot it. God! We have seen the retard by the name of John Cusack, a limousine driver no less, fly from LA to China as everything around him flies off the face of the earth.

Be right back. I need to go to the basin and spit my mouth out.

A takeover of a city ?  We have seen it before. A takeover of their souls? Hmmmm...It is scary. It is possible. It is a challenge worthy enough of the super hero.

And what about the joker situation. How do you beat that. Tell me! Somebody has to punish you for hitting six sixers out of six balls. This time around you need to make 37 runs. Well, you do it by not trying to do it. By creating a villain so different and so visceral that from the first shot the agent of chaos is forgotten.

And finally how do you make a smart movie when everyone expects you to. Like everyone expects Bay to make dumb movies. ( There i go again. God punish me).  

Nolan does it by being staying true to his own intelligence. By explaining, sometimes over explaining every single loose end from the previous movies even when there were no loose ends. By making a movie that is not only The Dark Knight rises, but also Batman Begins and The Dark Knight all combined in one. The Becoming, The Chaos, and the Pain.

Finally, I must say that along with the Dark Knight, my soul rises  too and it screams - this is how it is DONE! This is how stories are written. This is how stories meet their end. This is how really profound experiences are made. This is what yanks grown men out of their seats and cry like little boys left with beheaded GIJOEs in their hands.  Enough Parab. Time to shut down Gotham. Time to return to our mediocre worlds. Parab, you really should have edited this blog post better.  

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