By Gavin Mueller
Using the French Revolution for inspiration, the Nolans have restaged the bourgeois revolution, but in reverse. They want you to stand with the monarchists.
This is the essential gutlessness of the Nolans’ enterprise. They can write a knotty plot, and can even bring some visual style, but they have no feel for what most people actually feel and enjoy and find “relatable.”
I’m impressed by their films, like I’m impressed by Michaelangelo’s Last Judgment even though it doesn’t inspire me to fear the torments of Hell. Even when I like a Nolan film, I don’t love it, don’t identify with it, and rarely get swept up in it unless the soundtrack forces me (for fascism, I’d like a bit more Wagnerian bombast in the score instead of Hans Zimmer’s strings tugging me by my sleeve from scene to scene). And I think that’s because the Nolans have absolutely no common touch, no feel for what energizes anyone who isn’t white and with summer home.
When it comes down to it, the Nolans are enthralled by the elite of the elite, and simply cannot stoop to dissent from them on any level. The Nolans won’t let us revel in the carnivalesque eviction of the rich from their condos, or let us enjoy shooting up the stock market before hurrying to the next scene, or even give us a riotous show trial to chuckle through.
Read your Jameson, boys: you’re allowed to let us indulge in our fantasies of communist utopia as long as you sew things up ideologically by the end. But we are never allowed to indulge; instead, the audience of the indebted and oppressed are invited to shake our heads sadly at the spectacle of redistribution of property. Dickens may have been a lip-quivering liberal in the face of social revolution, but he at least portrayed the poor with sympathy, depicting the destitute of London and Paris hanged, limbs lopped off for the slightest offenses. The Nolans only have sympathy for the ruling class aristocrats, and that’s what they insist on from their audiences. So they’ll let Bloomberg’s private army play the scrappy guerilla force: the cops are the underdogs when it comes to taking back the streets, and the Nolans want you to root for them.