After films such as “Blade Runner” or “Heat” for the previous opus, it is in a novel by Charles Dickens that Christopher Nolan drew a good part of his inspiration for “The Dark Knight Rises”. Do you know which one?
For Batman Begins, he was inspired by Blade Runner for the atmosphere in the streets of Gotham City, and French Connection for the car chase sequence. The Dark Knight was influenced by Clockwork Orange, for the ultra-violence of the Joker, or Heat, for his game of cat and bat with the hero. As he wrapped up his DC trilogy, it was to a novel that Christopher Nolan turned with his co-writers, David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan.
Besides comic books “The Dark Knight Returns”, “No Man’s Land” or “Knightfall”, in which Bane breaks Batman’s back, the historical novel “The Tale of the Two Cities” by Charles Dickens is described by Christopher Nolan as one of the main sources of inspiration for The Dark Knight Rises. Published in 1859 in Great Britain, it takes place at the end of the 18th century, between 1775 and 1793, and tells the story of the decline of the cities of London and Paris through several social uprisings, including the famous French Revolution.
Historical events which the film echoes through the character of Bane (Tom Hardy), revolutionary who presents himself as “Gotham’s atonement” and manages to rally the popular classes to his cause, to attack the authorities and the elites, Bruce Wayne included, and lead them to a tribunal led by Scarecrow Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy). “A storm threatens”, Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) tells the hero, as a warning. “Close the hatches, you and your friends. When it does, you’ll wonder how you thought you could live the high life and keep the rest of us alive.” A theme evoked from Batman Begins, in the sequences in the heart of the city slums, continued in The Dark Knight with the anarchy embodied by the Joker, and which finds its culmination in this last part of the trilogy.
OCCUPY GOTHAM CITY
A notion of popular uprising that is found even in Bane’s outfit, envisioned by Lindy Hemming as a cross between the look of a dictator and that of a revolutionary, and whose coat is inspired by the jackets of the Swedish army as frock coats from… the French Revolution. Considered in 2008 and the release of the previous opus, this aspect of the story turned out to be topical. Even more than Christopher Nolan and his writers had no doubt imagined. Because the Occupy Wall Street movement, which aims to denounce the abuses of financial capitalism, begins in New York on September 17, 2011, while the film is being filmed and part of the filming is to take place in Manhattan. A rumor even announces that the director took the opportunity to film real demonstrators, which a scene of an attack on the Gotham Stock Exchange tends to confirm.
But David S. Goyer denies this noise from the hallway: “It was really luck that made the themes we discuss in the film coincide with Occupy Wall Street and this idea of the 99% [qui ne tolèrent plus l’avidité et la corruption des 1 % restant, ndlr]”, explained the co-writer at the microphone of MTV. “We couldn’t have predicted it, it just happened. We’re trying to make sense [à nos films], and I hope it will be like Greek mythology, which still reflects what is happening in politics today. “ Seen in this light, The Dark Knight trilogy is as much a reinterpretation of Batman’s story as it is the tale of a “civilization falling into ruins”, as Jonathan Nolan specifies in ComingSoon in 2012. The situation has not improved in the world since, the subject therefore remains more relevant than ever, without it being the political firebrand denounced by Mitt Romney, who saw it as a leaflet pro-Obama, his opponent without the White House race that year. Especially since Bane is, ultimately, only the armed wing of a personal revenge.
But it is also on this level that Christopher Nolan’s triptych presents itself as a portrait of post-September 11 America, and two nods to the Charles Dickens novel that inspired it have crept into the film through the characters called Stryver (Burn Gorman) and Barsad (Josh Stewart). Like in the book.