Today marks the last hurrah for Nolan’s epic Dark Knight trilogy with the DVD release of The Dark Knight Rises like I had to point that out and I’m not going to gush over Nolan’s work that much here because it’s been done many many times here and elsewhere.
But what influenced the man’s body of work?, well this is where I got really excited in that one of my favourite films is Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and It would appear to be one of Nolan’s too.
I base this not on the fact that before filming on the trilogy begun he made key members of his crew watch Blade Runner and allegedly said “We are going to make this film” but rather on the number of similar elements that it has.Now if you were to google “Dark+Knight+Blade+Runner” no doubt you will see others have arrived at this conclusion before, but rather than rehash what others have said here’s what I’ve noticed myself.
The Aesthetic similarities
Look at the accompanying pictures and you will see that Nolan’s take on the Batmobile (which most likened to Millers Bat Tank) The Tumbler certainly has a little DNA of The Spinner in it, but as you may remember The Spinner was a sky bound vehicle which is funny because doing a comparison against The Bat from Rises would be far more apt as you will see they essentially fly in exactly the same manner with a central mounted rotor giving them jet propulsion.
In Blade Runner it presciently imagined a future where China is a superpower and their design cues can be found all over the cluttered, dark and packed streets meanwhile the wealthy and elite live in their towers high above the city.
Batman Begins featured a Gotham City in much the same way look at any of the scenes featuring the Narrows and you will see the Chinese design cues, the clutter, the dimness and just how everyone is packed together even if you were to look at the apartment Scarecrow keeps his stash you could be forgiven for thinking it was Sebastian’s derelict looking apartment from Blade Runner.
Nolan opted out of giving us a Vicki Vale instead presenting us with Rachel Dawes, A character who over the course of the film[s] gives our hero a love interest one who he would give up being a detective for… Ring any bells?, In Blade Runner the hero Deckard chooses to give up being a Blade Runner (a detective who hunts down replicants) because he falls for a replicant named Rachel one who has a predestined fate as the film ends (in a brutal and ambiguous fashion dependent on which cut you watch) given that it ends on that note we can only imagine how said death would impact on him but with the Dark Knight trilogy we see that Rachel’s death crushes Bruce and makes him jaded in much the same way Blade Runner built up to but was confined to one movie … It’s easy to see why Nolan chose the name of Rachel.
One of the things that blighted The Dark Knight trilogy was critics moaning that the villains were too expository and that they gave away the conclusion with dialogue which I thought wasn’t a very fair criticism when you have such complex characters basically playing mind games, we see this in both when Roy Batty has brutalized Deckard and chases him high onto the roof and gives talk of “…Moments lost time” and states “it’s time to die” before expiring after reaching the span of his replicant life, as does Gaff when he later states “It’s too bad she wont live” giving us our conclusion in much the same way that suspended high above the City the Joker tells Bruce he wasn’t what would lead to Gotham losing hope foreshadowing the events leading to and ultimately after Dents death.
This is on top of the fact both have fantastical parts to the story that would otherwise lead you to doubt they could ever happen but are executed in a way that makes you totally suspend that disbelief.
… And don’t get me started on spinning tops and paper unicorns!
So ultimately I’ll leave it to you, Straw clutching or is Blade Runner not only a influence on Nolan’s work but a was every bit as much of an influence on this series than any Batman story line?
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