• Representing Trauma: Grief, Amnesia and Traumatic Memory in Nolan’s New Millennial Films’

      Furby, Jacqueline; Joy, Stuart; Pheasant-Kelly, Frances (Columbia University Press, 2015-07)
      A consistent preoccupation of Christopher Nolan’s films is the psychological afflictions of their male protagonists, who variously experience flashbacks, hallucinations, amnesia or hyper-vigilance, and whose signs of emotional damage often stem from grief or guilt. However, mental trauma is not only a trait of Nolan’s films but is discernible across a range of genres, with a noticeable surge of psychologically disordered male characters in films of the new millennium. Akin to their post-war noir predecessors, such representations of masculinity suggest that the unstable mental state of the twenty-first century protagonist may relate to the effects of a post-9/11 milieu. What makes Nolan’s oeuvre distinctive is that his new millennium films tend to be fore-grounded by this feature, to the extent that mental aberration governs the narrative, thereby implying such characterisation as an authorial tendency. As Will Brooker notes, ‘Nolan’s authorial interest in psychological drama, his recurring themes of fear and memory and his characteristic experiments with narrative have now become established traits’ (2012: 22).