Christopher Nolan likes his crazy guy movies

I was going to write a post about how Christopher Nolan doesn’t have any really strong, central female characters in any of his movies and then I did a quick search and found that someone else had written the post really well and so I can just link to it:

And I don’t think he has a woman problem as much as he’s just a guy interested in making movies about obsessed men. That’s his thing. Down to a movie. Someone else beat me to the punch on this one, too. But I’ll spell it out again:

  • Doodlebug: His student film? Or something. A guy trying to squash a bug. Obsessed!
  • Following: About a guy who follows people. OBSESSIVELY.
  • Memento: About a guy obsessed with finding his wife’s killer.
  • Insomnia: About a guy obsessed with a killer and a mistake he made.
  • Batman Begins: About a guy obsessed with washing clean from the guilt of watching his parents die in front of him.
  • The Prestige: About TWO guys obsessed with being the ultimate magician, and finding each other’s secrets.
  • The Dark Knight: About the same guy who dressed up like a bat to wash clean from the guilt, trying to do it again.
  • Inception: About a guy obsessed with his dead wife and pulling this one really hard job.

So, as I say. I don’t think he’s as much slagging off women as much as he’s obsessed with obsessed men. And that’s fertile ground, and he generally has more ideas (well, he and his brother, I guess) per movie than any five movies put together. Obsessed men make good thriller material (Vertigo, Cape Fear, Fatal Attraction) because they do crazy stuff to get what they want, cause collateral damage. They appear bigger than the rest of us rational folk because we generally give up on ideas when they look crazy (“I WILL avenge the TIVO mistake!”) so that guarantees that the stories will be exciting and dramatic. So more power to him. I’ll keep watching his movies, but it will be interesting to see with an actual female character, Catwoman, if in the new Batman movie she’ll be plot fodder or she’ll actually have a role. If I were to guess, she’ll be like the Carrie-Anne Moss character in Memento – critical to the plot, potentially a lead character, but not likeable enough (or developed enough) to hold much water. Maggie Gyllenhall in The Dark Knight was the closest he’s come to a fleshed out female character. And she was killed to make Two-Face crazy, so she was a plot point in the end as well. Oh well. I’d love to be surprised.

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