As a director, writer, and producer, Christopher Nolan has made a substantial impact on contemporary cinema through both avant garde films, such as Following and Memento, and his contributions to major pop culture franchises with his Dark Knight trilogy and his involvement in both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. His most recent film, Interstellar, delivered the same visual qualities and complex, thought-provoking plotlines his audience has come to expect. This volume collects sixteen essays written by professional philosophers and film theorists that discuss various philosophical themes either represented within a particular film or are characteristic of Nolan's overall thematic vision across his cinematic oeuvre. These themes include self-identity and self-destruction, moral choice and moral doubt, the nature of truth and its value, whether we can trust our perceptions of what's "real," the political psychology of heroes and villains, and what it means to be a "viewer" of Nolan's films.
Whether his protagonists are squashing themselves like a bug, struggling to create an identity and moral purpose for themselves, suffering from their own duplicitous plots that cause them to doubt their own perceptions of their self and the world around them, donning a mask that both strikes fear and reveals their true nature, or having to weigh the lives of those they love against the greater good in the face of the unknown, there are no simple solutions to the questions Nolan's films provoke; yet exploring these questions yields its own reward.
Jason T. Eberl is Semler Endowed Chair for Medical Ethics and professor of philosophy at Marian University. George A. Dunn lectures in philosophy and religion at the University of Indianapolis and the Ningbo Institute of Technology in Zhejiang Province.