I hated the movie Memento. I had to watch it, of course, because it was intelligentsia du jour back in those days. A movie should only require one viewing in order to "get it." To do otherwise is to cheat the viewer and is a sign of self-indulgent storytelling.
I merely disliked Inception, but of course couldn't confess it in a public forum because everybody either loves it or pretends to love it, because who wants to be that one dummy who doesn't "get it"? My take was, "Well, if it's a dream within a dream within a dream, why should I bother keeping track of which layer of dream we're in, because dreams aren't real?" It had cool visuals, but on a story level, I thought it was a real mess. For a mind-twisting story where reality itself was in doubt, I thought Shutter Island was far superior (Incidentally, Leonardo diCaprio is becoming one of my favorite actors, something I never dreamed I'd admit.)
When my Amazon editor contacted me about getting the rights to Liquid Fear, he said the plot had "a Christopher Nolan feel." I was horrified! In the novel, I had deliberately planted deception and unreliable narrators, and I knew it was risky. I knew I would immediately lose a certain slice of the book audience. But I wanted to do something challenging and reward those who like risks. DiCaprio is taking risks with his career, taking roles as an unpleasant and unlikable character (The Departed!) when he could have stayed the cuddly Titanic heartthrob--that's why I like him now. I would rather have taken risks than dole out disposable entertainment and sell lots of books.
Following, a more stripped-down version of his twisting storytelling style, with a little of his signature nihilism. It's probably my favorite, although we watched The Dark Knight last night, and it only had a few "Huh, what's happening and/or whose side are they on?" moments.
The guy gives me a headache. But I keep coming back for more. And he's influencing a lot of storytellers. (I started Liquid Fear in 2006 so I am pretty sure Christopher Nolan didn't influence me. Yet.) I suppose there are worse things to be than the Christopher Nolan of psychological thrillers.
Time for me to revisit Memento and see if I'm any smarter these days.