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Politics

Tony Talks #15: The State of the Nation(s)

Everything is broken. You know it. I know it. People are talking more about it these days, but still… everything is not just broken, it’s *exhausting*.

I was originally going to just put together a tweet thread about this but I feel compelled right now to write more about the desperate current state, not just of our politics in the West, but our societies in general. In some sense, David Cameron’s vision of a ‘Big Society’ in the UK has come to pass for Western democracy, just not in the way he imagined. We are one big, collapsing macrocosm of democracy which is being crushed under rapidly evolving systems and processes. Our society cannot cope with these quiet revolutions and, consequently, the centre—literally—is not holding.

At this stage, I’d like to, and this may sound weird, invite you to stop reading. I’m aware followers of my blog no doubt come here for discourse on cinema, TV, podcasts etc… and I’m equally aware, for some, never the twain shall meet when it comes to entertainment and politics. While I’m determined not to let this piece descend into a “Trump and Boris are c*nts” (they are) rant, I fully understand if this is the point you get off the ride. In fact, I encourage it if entertainment bloggers and critics discussing personal political views annoys you, especially if you hold a different view.

Still here? Great. Because I have thoughts.

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Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk and his Cinematic Ideology

Across the last week, since the release of his latest movie Dunkirk, much has been written about Christopher Nolan, as always happens whenever he puts a picture out. Nolan may be the most divisive mainstream, heavyweight filmmaker working in cinema today. Some believe he’s a genius. Some believe he’s Stanley Kubrick reborn. Some even believe he’s a rampant Conservative and his films are nothing more than ‘Tory Porn’.

You would do well, incidentally, to read the writing of my friend and super-talented pop culture writer Darren Mooney on Nolan recently, as its insightful, filled with wisdom and there’s every chance he’s not done on the subject yet, simply because the gaggle of voices weighing in on Nolan once again has reached fever pitch. Is Dunkirk a masterpiece? Or is it yet another piece of super-overrated cinema from a filmmaker who can’t see past his own delusions of grandeur? For me, it’s the former, but this is coming from someone who has always considered Nolan to be, if not the greatest living cinematic auteur, then at least among the top five.

What interests me is the accusation he is a Conservative filmmaker when a titanic weight of evidence suggests quite the opposite. Do read the above linked article with the accusation, much as partly I’m loathe to link to it – despite having been written by someone very pleased with their prose, someone with visible disdain for modern film criticism and a level of bitterness toward politics in general, it nonetheless outlines an argument with a level of brevity. Frankly it’s not a piece worth dwelling on and picking apart because some of the arguments are lunacy, but what it does is raise an interesting question: just where does Nolan, and his films, stand on the political spectrum?