Title

The Twisted Femmes Fatales of Christopher Nolan

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2014

Abstract

Looking at the plots of Christopher Nolan’s films, you might worry about his attitude towards women. At the end of his first feature-length film, Following (1998), the only female character (“The [unnamed] Blonde”) is murdered with a hammer by her gangster boyfriend. In Nolan’s first mainstream movie, the revenge thriller Memento (2001), Leonard is on a quest to avenge his wife’s rape and murder, though it may be that Leonard himself has inadvertently killed her with an insulin overdose, the fate of another female character in the film (unless these women are one and the same – it’s complicated). The rivalry of the magicians in The Prestige (2006) begins when one kills the other’s wife by (again, inadvertently) tying a trick knot incorrectly. The wife of the first at least gets to exercise her agency in her own death – she hangs herself to escape a (semi-)loveless marriage. Suicide returns in Inception (2010): The protagonist’s wife, Mal, has killed herself in an attempt to wake herself up from what she takes to be a dream.

Publication Information

Aesthetics for Birds