Are criminals in real life ever even one-tenth as fascinating as they are in Christopher Nolan movies? Can you think of a real criminal as intriguing as the late Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight or Leonardo DiCaprio’s Cobb in Inception? Or is “master criminal” just a fantasy where filmmakers such as Nolan project their own considerable talents onto a class of dismal individuals?
Whenever some creep shoots a lot of people, as at The Dark Knight Rises midnight showing in Colorado, journalists are expected to generate instant analyses of The Meaning of It All.
Yet if we have to concoct far-reaching theories based on a sample size of one, I’d much rather ponder somebody accomplished and interesting, such as Nolan. The director’s first movie, Following, a miniature masterpiece from 1998, demonstrates that Nolan has been fretting for his whole career about this question of whether he’s glamorizing lowlifes by portraying them as creative leaders of men, as auteurs modeled on himself.