How Did 'Heat' Inspire Nolan to Make Gotham a Character in 'The Dark Knight'?
Dark Knight Heat.jpg

Would Christopher Nolan's Gotham be the same without Michael Mann's inspiration?

Even the best directors in the world take inspiration from one another. Take Christopher Nolan. Ever since Michael Mann's Heat came out, he's cited the film as an inspiration for his work in The Dark Knight.

Links were made between the images, the interrogation scene, and even the actor William Fitchner, who starred in both films.

But the comparisons weren't all visual or fun throwing Easter eggs. They had to do with the place too.

In an interview for the book The Nolan Variations, the director said, "You have to look at the scale differently. Batman Begins was as big as possible. I knew we couldn't fit in geographically. So you have to look at the scale differently. In the end, I got I look at it differently in terms of storytelling and cinematography. One of the greatest epic films I've ever seen is Michael Mann's Heat. This is true Los Angeles history, just wall to wall in town. Okay, let's make one of that City history. "

That was a very interesting detail for me.

I think the best thing about The Dark Knight is how Gotham paints it. We understand the heartbeat of the city. I always felt like it was almost a 9/11 movie. We see a place terrorized by an imperturbable criminal who is hard to predict.

It's not about money or revenge, it's about watching the world burn. And the movie has been scrutinized for spying on every cell phone in town to pay homage to the Patriot Act to stop the Joker, but I digress …

The most important detail is how Nolan wanted Gotham to be to The Dark Knight what Los Angeles is to Heat.

Nolan actually checked Mann's Heat on all of his department heads before going into production.

As he said in the video, "I've always found Heat to be a remarkable demonstration of how to create a vast universe in a city and how to effectively balance very large numbers of characters and their emotional journeys."

I think Nolan really made it here. There is a really visceral energy in his film. It helps that we end up getting perspectives from citizens, police officers, and even prisoners to leave us in shock and awe.

Nolan is quoted in GQ as saying, "We're going to shoot in a real city with real streets and real buildings because the scale can be massive. We're going to use IMAX cameras so we can shoot the full height." from the buildings and we will give you an antagonist to interfere with the structure of the city. Just from the way we turn it, the Joker walking down the street will be a huge picture. Heat was a huge influence because man is also a fan of architecture, he understands the size of a city and how it can become some kind of epic playground. "

And the icing on the cake is that the whole drama has made the Joker an even "bigger picture" in history.

Also, take a look at this 2016 Heat retrospective. Nolan is hosting it and it's fun to see how he thinks about the plot, the story, and the way Mann constructed the film.

What is your opinion on this matter?

Do you feel like Nolan scratched the best parts of the heat? Or were the visual and historical tributes so much that they got you out of history?

Let us know in the comments.


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