Everyone’s aware of Christopher Nolan these days. He’s managed to become one of the most successful directors going. The remarkable thing is that he’s seemed to do this on his own terms. While capable of astounding visuals. The most striking thing about him is that he always keeps a focus on story. And is usually heavily involved in the writing of his movies. His stories always focus on leading characters who live in the grey areas. Nolan was well regarded from his first film, “Following” and increased his following every time out. His next feature “Memento” left many amazed at his story telling techniques.
With “Inception” he accomplished something astounding, developing a big budget blockbuster based on an original story, rather than a proven property (and having that film make a lot of money.) His Batman trilogy would indicate that he isn’t afraid to be mainstream either, but it’s obvious that even so he’ll tell the story his way, giving us a vision of Batman on a scope never seen before on film. Anti heroes have always been his fascination, perhaps because their struggle has the most story potential. They play out the dilemmas most of us face on an exaggerated scale. We don’t know that they’ll do the “right thing” and many times, they don’t even know what that is, as they are usually caught up in their own obsessions. Nolan seems obsessed with obsession, fortunately for us, as we can count on this giving us an engrossing story.
Anti heroes have always been his fascination, perhaps because their struggle has the most story potential. They play out the dilemmas most of us face on an exaggerated scale. We don’t know that they’ll do the “right thing”. And many times, they don’t even know what that is, as they are usually caught up in their own obsessions. Nolan seems obsessed with obsession, fortunately for us, as we can count on this giving us an engrossing story.
Nolan’s first film, a black and white neo noir story about a harmless loser. Bill (Jeremy Theobald) who imagines himself a writer. Without gainful employment, he makes a game of following people on the street, for no reason but his own amusement. While this is creepy, it doesn’t really break any laws. He’s presented with a moral dilemma when he’s befriended by a far more sophisticated con man, Cobb (Alex Haw) who sees him as the perfect patsy.
Taken in by the excitement of burglarly, particularly the voyeuristic aspects of it (they move items just to let their victims know they were looking at them) and of course the easy money, it doesn’t take long before he becomes a whole new person, complete with haircut and nice new wardrobe. Once a woman becomes involved, it becomes clear that he’s in way over his head.
“You’re developing a taste for it – the violating, the voyeurism… it’s definitely you.”
Leonard (Guy Pearce) is out to avenge his wife’s murder. The problem is he can’t form new long term memories. He was prepared for his condition. However, by one of his cases as an insurance investigator, Sammy Jankis. A man who had a similar condition. Using a system of writing notes to himself, tattooing the most important bits on his body, he devotes himself to finding his wife’s killer. Assisted by Officer Teddy Gammell (Joe Pantoliano) and crossing paths with Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) it becomes clear that those aware of Leonard’s condition make full use of it to achieve their ends, and Leonard is not above fooling himself in order to find and kill the man named John G.
“Do I lie to myself to be happy?”
Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is a legendary homicide detective under investigation by Internal Affairs. His partner, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) is under scrutiny as well and considering talking to IA. Causing friction between the partners. Dormer asserts that I.A.’s findings could let many convicted criminals free. Dormer and Eckhart are sent to Alaska to help investigate the murder of a young girl. A local cop, Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank) who idolizes Dormer helps with the homicide case although she’s usually sees no more than misdemeanors.
Dormer tells her, “It’s all about small stuff. You know, small lies, small mistakes. People give themselves away, same in misdemeanors as they do on murder cases. It’s just human nature.” In the search for the killer, Eckhart is killed in a manner which Dormer covers up. Before long he finds their homicide suspect, local author Walter Finch (Robin Williams.) The trouble is that Walter knows one of Dormer’s secrets.
Dormer’s stress is compounded by the perpetual daylight of the town, and being unable to sleep as a result. Dormer has to figure out what how to bring in the murderer without sabotaging himself, hoping he hasn’t made any of the mistakes that he told Ellie about.
A good cop can’t sleep because he’s missing a piece of the puzzle. And a bad cop can’t sleep because his conscience won’t let him.
If you understand an obsession then you know you won’t change my mind.
Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate.