Thursday, November 16, 2017

Musical Patterns in the Films of Christopher Nolan

Never say never... There were three filmmakers (Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson) I vowed never to do a video essay about - not because I wouldn't admire them, on the contrary, but because there is already much too much out there about their work. And now, there are only two (I don't plan to break the promise on Kubrick and Anderson anytime soon). Since this video already had more positive feedback than anything else I made, I can't say it was a bad decision. Right now I am working on a video about some aspects of the synth score of STRANGER THINGS 1. But after that, I will return to Nolan because I still got a broadly outlined essay on some of his more unobtrusive crosscutting techniques waiting to be finished.

Music in Nolan's Films
Christopher Nolan strives to make his films the most immersive experience possible. So he prefers the score to support the atmosphere and the pace of his films and not elicit emotions by way of sentimental melodies. While this is very obvious in DUNKIRK (2017), Hans Zimmer's lauded score follows some of the same basic patterns that can be found in all of Nolan's prior films - regardless of the composer. He even said that it basically "is Chris Nolan’s score" (

So here is a tour d'horizon on these musical patterns and their evolution from FOLLOWING (1998) to INTERSTELLAR (2014). Of course, this is only a broad, subjective overview. It is impossible to do justice to the many complexities of each individual score within 10 minutes. Make sure to watch it full screen and loud (preferably on head phones)!

For educational purposes only!

German version for

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