Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Under The Knife

Nowadays, one needn’t be enrolled in film school to get a heaping helping of info, opinion, and lectures to foster one’s creative efforts in film production. Ask Director Chris Nolan.

Of course, with the dramatic surge of accessibility of film production tools resulting in vast amounts of material being generated (Hello, YouTube), inevitably, critique of the material produced will be equally prevalent. It’s Ying/ Yang. These things need one  another.

Arguable? Sure…. but true none the less IMHO. Solid critique keeps us honest; with a certain amount of folks diligently taking apart our much-loved films (yours, mine, Chris Nolan’s, etc) we all may be presented with opportunities to learn something of our craft from another person’s perspective. Now, Before you hang up, I ask you to read on…

In the spirit of film critique IndieWire’s newly hatched column, IN THE CUT, serves up the goods. First on the block: Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight!

A blurb from our hosts at IN THE CUT :

Press Play debuts a new genre of video essay we are calling In The Cut. These video essays will zero in on a  crucial scene in a film and they will deconstruct, study and evaluate it for its technical merits and its cinematic effectiveness. Given the recent arguments emanating from this site and others about the state of action filmmaking, Press Play contributor Jim Emerson felt compelled to produce a series of three In The Cut video essays.

When taken cumulatively, these commentaries explain once and for all what a successful action sequence looks like and how such a scene should influence the viewer. His forensic analysis of the truck chase from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is Part I of these essays. Part II is Phillip Noyce’s Salt and Part III is Don Siegel’s The Line Up. We have included the full uninterrupted sequence from The Dark Knight so the viewer can compare Jim’s analysis with the finished product.”

But wait, there’s more! Here’s peek into Jim Emerson’s perspective regarding the process of making a film:

“Anyone who has participated in the making of a movie, whether a D.I.Y. project or a Hollywood studio picture (I’ve been involved in both kinds of productions), can tell you about the seemingly insurmountable difficulties of planning, shooting and editing a movie. Surely the use of large IMAX cameras for this segment of The Dark Knight made the filming more of a challenge.

Problems that could have been easily fixed on a film with such a huge budget (removing that phantom extra police car with CGI, perhaps) were also no doubt complicated by the IMAX process. And to the filmmakers’ credit, they decided against using CGI for the actual stunts, using real vehicles, miniatures and explosions instead. ”

I for one am sticking around for the series. Sure, it’s ripe material for starting some high-temperature conversations- as several online forums will attest. Why So Serious?

In the end, it’s about making better films, no?  Let me know what you think.   -M


Press Play

Press Play contributor Jim Emerson

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