Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction: The Ethics of the Lie

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pp. 1-18

The lie plays a central role in every Christopher Nolan film. In his first feature, Following (1998), the film’s protagonist, Bill (Jeremy Theobald), becomes entrapped in a deception that frames him for a woman’s murder. Nolan’s most popular film, The Dark Knight (2008), depicts Batman (Christian Bale) hiding not just beneath a mask but also behind the...

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Chapter 1. The Snare of Truth: Following and the Perfect Patsy

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pp. 19-38

In terms of the conditions of its production, Following (1998) stands out among Christopher Nolan’s films. It was made on a series of weekends over a year while Nolan and the film’s cast and crew worked regular jobs during the week. Constrained by a $6,000 budget, Nolan got along with mostly natural light, 16 mm film stock, and amateur actors. These...

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Chapter 2. Memento and the Desire Not to Know

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pp. 39-66

After the film festival success of Following (1998), Christopher Nolan managed to procure a significant budgetary increase for his next film. Armed with studio support and a $4.5 million budget, Nolan could shoot Memento (2000) on a standard shooting schedule rather than sporadically on weekends over a year’s time. The film also marks his move from...

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Chapter 3. The Dirty Cop: Insomnia and the Art of Detection

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pp. 67-86

The critical and popular breakthrough of Memento (2000) gave Christopher Nolan the opportunity to enter the Hollywood system, and this opportunity produced Insomnia (2002). Nolan had ten times more money to make Insomnia than he had to make Memento ($46 million versus $4.5 million), and this budget allowed him to hire more well-known...

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Chapter 4. The Banal Superhero: The Politicized Realism of Batman Begins

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pp. 87-102

When Christopher Nolan won the opportunity to make Insomnia in 2002, he received the advantages that come with being an up-and-coming Hollywood director. The film’s budget afforded him expensive location shooting, top stars like Al Pacino and Robin Williams, and prominent advertising. But it was Batman Begins (2005), with a budget almost triple that of...

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Chapter 5. The Violence of Creation in The Prestige

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pp. 103-122

It was possible that the success of Batman Begins (2005) might have divorced Christopher Nolan completely from his origins in independent cinema. The critical acclaim and $370 million worldwide gross for the film might have set him down the road of sequels and other superhero films. But before his popular sequel to Batman Begins, Nolan returned...

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Chapter 6. The Hero’s Form of Appearance: The Necessary Darkness of The Dark Knight

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pp. 123-146

The critical and popular success of Batman Begins (2005) ensured that Christopher Nolan would have the opportunity to direct a sequel. The three years that he took between the original and the sequel created great anticipation among fans of both Nolan and Batman. The anticipation that awaited the fi lm brought with it tremendous pressure to outdo...

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Chapter 7. A Plea for the Abandonment of Reality in Inception

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pp. 147-170

Of all Christopher Nolan’s films, Inception (2010) took the longest time to appear. He had the idea for the film approximately nine years, as he himself notes, before he finally made the film in 2010.1 It required the incredible success of The Dark Knight (2008) for a studio to give Nolan the opportunity to make a big-budget film on dreams, a film about...

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Conclusion: Lying without Consequence

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pp. 171-178

When Christopher Nolan began making films and matured as a feature filmmaker, the problem of the lie was central in the activities of two American presidents. Because of his lie to federal prosecutors about his sexual life, Bill Clinton suffered the humiliation of impeachment. George W. Bush, on the other hand, was part of a much more dramatic deception...

Notes

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pp. 179-208

Bibliography

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pp. 209-214

Index

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pp. 215-220