In the new issue of Total Film magazine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rian Johnson – star and director, respectively, of stylish upcoming sci-fi flick Looper – talk about how Christopher Nolan‘s brand of smart yet mainstream filmmaking has influenced them.
For those of you that are out of the loop (pun intended), here’s a brief refresher on Looper‘s plot: in the 2040s, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a hitman who goes after targets sent from 30 years in the future. He enjoys his rather lucrative position, until he recognizes one of his targets as his future self (Bruce Willis).
Gordon-Levitt, who worked with Nolan in Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, compares Nolan to Johnson in the way that both approach their audiences:
You can point at the work of Chris Nolan – he doesn’t talk down to the audience at all, and audiences love him for it. Rian isn’t interested in talking down to his audience. He’s interested in making a movie that he would love – making them clear, and making them well.
Johnson added to the Nolan praise by stating:
I love the fact he’s obliterated this false notion that huge movies can’t also be interesting – that you either have to have something on your mind or you can make a big fun movie.
I’m glad that Gordon-Levitt and Johnson acknowledged Nolan so graciously, because I get a very Nolan-esque vibe from what I’ve seen of Looper so far. The film looks to be as action-packed as Inception, another sci-fi mind-boggler, and the premise as a whole reminds me a bit of Memento, one of Nolan’s older films.
While I agree with Gordon-Levitt about Nolan not ‘talking down to his audience’, I do think that Nolan’s most popular movies have such widespread appeal because the narratives aren’t as intricate as they could be. For me, his best film is either Memento or The Prestige, both of which have a lot of critical acclaim but not as much mainstream buzz as The Dark Knight trilogy or Inception.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the blockbusters, too. It’s just that I think Nolan is at his best when he’s not trying to make a huge blockbuster, but simply an intelligent and well thought-out movie.
Looper hits theatres on September 28th, 2012.