Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk comes out this weekend and is meant to be seen on the big screen in IMAX. Nolan has repeatedly said that IMAX and 70mm film has brought together his most immersive film yet, short of seeing Dunkirk with virtual reality goggles. Nolan has always been one to delve into the imagination and pull out something that's hyperrealistic. With that in mind, let's take a look at the five most immersive films directed by Christopher Nolan.
If any film would have immersed an audience, it would have been Nolan's last outing with Interstellar. The film follows space explorers searching for humanity's new home planet. It's a commentary on the status of the human race, but Nolan presents the film in such an epic manner that it'll have Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg begging for filmmaking tips. Grand tapestries of space and planets fill the screen. The audience discovers mesmerizing wormholes and time altering dimensions. Nolan throws magic at the screen in every shot. However, the stilted dialogue drags you out of the immersion more than a few times and the film runs quite long at 2 hours and 49 minutes. Over an hour of the film was shot using 70mm IMAX cameras.
|Interstellar, Courtesy Warner Bros.|
Leave it to one of the masters of filmmaking to get audiences interested in a film about a detective sent up to Alaska to solve a murder. There were a lot of things that Nolan did right with his major film debut in Insomnia. Robin Williams was cast as the villain, Al Pacino the immoral detective with a sleeping disorder, and Hilary Swank as the righteous Alaskan cop. Nolan placed the landscape as its own character, creating foggy, rocky terrain, rivers with constant rolling lumber, and haunting seaside cabins. Enough to lose the audience in the film's simple story. The script was solid with phenomenal acting and intriguing dialogue, but the characters took a backstage to the beautiful images presented on screen. Insomnia was shot with 35mm film.
|Insomnia, Courtesy Warner Bros.|
3. The Prestige
After Nolan rose to international fame with Batman Begins he set his sights on adapting the Christopher Priest novel The Prestige. Set near the end of the 19th century and focusing on two feuding magicians, the film is packed with detail and scope. Much thanks to the talented Director of Photography, Wally Pfister, who brings to life what is going on in Nolan's mind. Nolan creates such a cinematic world on paper that is seamlessly transferred over to screen in one of the best films about magicians. The one shot that seals the deal is Nikola Tesla's field of illumination (presented below). The Prestige was shot on 35mm film.
|The Prestige, Courtesy Touchstone Pictures|
2. The Dark Knight
Nolan had more power in orchestrating the trilogy he wanted with the success of Batman Begins. That power brought the redefining of genre films with The Dark Knight. Don't mistake this crime drama for a superhero film, because it's exactly the opposite. Nolan manages to create a realistic world centered around Batman. Filmed in Hong Kong, London, and Chicago, Nolan wanted to escape the humdrum of studio sets and create magic on real city streets and buildings. The Dark Knight certainly elevated blockbusters to the next level, showing Hollywood that grounded realism could be found anywhere. Around 30 minutes of the film was shot on 70mm IMAX cameras.
|The Dark Knight, Courtesy Warner Bros.|
While the film can be bogged down by dialogue issues, Nolan doesn't let his masterpiece falter. Following a group of thieves who enter people's dreams to steal information, Nolan somehow gets his imagination perfectly on screen. Inception manages to immerse its viewers through emotion and classic storytelling. The most important element that Nolan shows in the film is practical effects. The effects are the core of the immersion. If it wasn't for a spinning contraption that sent Joseph Gordon-Levitt through a hotel hallway or a train hurtling through a trackless downtown street, Inception may have ended up being a run-of-the-mill blockbuster. Nolan's artful film kept audiences on the edge of their seats by wrapping a new, intricate world around them. Inception was shot on 35mm and 65mm film.
|Inception, Courtesy Warner Bros.|