By Rohan Bhatia
When it comes to the world of cinema and directors, there are no two names bigger than Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino. Well there might be, but since this is my blog and these are my favourite directors, let’s just go with them.
The list of films leaked last year is huge, and includes, to name a few, Alejandro Inarritu’s The Revenant (which got Leo the much needed Oscar, Hallelujah!) , Ryan Coogler’s Creed, Adam McKay’s The Big Short and my favourite by far, Quentin Tarantino’s eighth movie, The H8ful Eight, yet another blood-spattered masterpiece by QT, the god of gore!
Here’s a look at how they are so similar, yet poles apart as directors, but inarguably, crème de la crème of western cinema.
Dark thrillers are Nolan’s forte, hands down. His films are usually centred on a protagonist’s psychological issues, the character often facing moral dilemmas and fighting to reinforce their own identities. Nolan plays beautifully with the nuances of human nature and self-deception, how we bury the truth deep within ourselves. Watching a Nolan flick is like walking into the machine Tesla built for Robert Angier aka The Great Danton aka Hugh Jackman in ‘The Prestige’. The person who walks out is completely different from the one who walked in!
Tarantino’s flicks are blood-spattered absurdist comedies not often built on a strong plot or a stellar storyline, but dramatic irony and revenge. His films are mostly centred on racial politics, dark at one moment, full of sparkle and kick the next. In ‘Django Unchained’, for example, Tarantino told the tale of a slave turned gunfighter, who scaled a mountain, slayed a dragon, and walked through hellfire to rescue his love in the pre-civil war America.
CHARACTERS AND CASTING
Nolan’s casting is damn-near impeccable. With Christian Bale, he might just have given the world the best version of the Caped Crusader ever. He chooses a star-studded cast which includes the likes of Michael Caine (The old guy symbolizing wisdom and morality), Tom Hardy (tough guy breaking spirits and bodies alike), and Marion Cotillard (devilishly pretty but pretty devilish) to name a few. Nolan makes these actors play the characters will all their souls and more.
Unlike Nolan, Tarantino’s movies don’t have good guys we can empathize with, they just have bad guys we can fall in love with. Samuel Jackson has got to be the go-to leading man for Tarantino, be it to play a bad-ass gangster, a kiss-ass slave, or a kick-ass bounty hunter. Hateful eight was their sixth collaboration and each time has been delight for us. Christoph Waltz has also been a key part of Tarantino’s cast and justifiably so because both collaborations have won Waltz an Academy award, once for portraying the Nazi S.S. Colonel Hans Landa and second time for the German dentist (ha!) in Django Unchained.
What makes them alike?
- No one does what these guys do without making it seem like a blatant rip-off.
- Both of them use the non-linear form of storytelling and that too mind-blowingly well. Refer to Nolan’s ‘Memento’ and QT’S Pulp Fiction to see how it’s done.
- Both of their movies have the most amazing soundtracks ever. Refer Hanz Zimmer and Ennio Morricone
- They have both utilized the breath-taking talent of Leo Dicaprio, Nolan in Inception, and Tarantino in ‘Django Unchained’, both of which won Leo a lot of critical acclaim (but not an Oscar no.)
- Both of them avoid the use of CGI and digital film-making as far as possible. Tarantino used real fire to create the explosion scenes in Django Unchained while Nolan used a rotating set to give out a 0-gravity effect.
All in all, these guys are brilliant and their talent is sheer genius. But to pick one over the other would be a dilemma not even Michael Caine can help you out with! Adios!
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.