PERFORMING ARTS

The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan

Knopf. Oct. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780525655329. $40. FILM
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Quite simply, this is the book for which director Christopher Nolan’s many admirers have long been waiting. While his enigmatic and labyrinthine filmmaking style has drawn praise from viewers and critics alike, he has kept a similarly mysterious air about himself and his work. Yet film critic Shone (Tarantino: A Retrospective) sat with Nolan for numerous conversations over three years, producing what is almost a coauthored exploration of Nolan’s creative process, his extensive influences, and his films, from 1998’s Following to his latest, Tenet. Shone seamlessly weaves these conversations within a narrative that stretches from Nolan’s formative boarding school days in England to the evolution of his career and his work with key contributors such as composer Hans Zimmer, his screenwriter brother Jonathan, and his wife Emma Thomas, who has served as a producer on all his films. Only a handful of contemporary writer-directors truly merit this kind of mid-career assessment, and Shone has crafted a thoroughly entertaining and fascinating portrait.
VERDICT For the foreseeable future, this is the definitive word on Nolan and a must for film buffs.

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