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Why The Prisoner Might Be a Good Subsequent Movie for Christopher Nolan


It’s straightforward to see why The Prisoner would possibly enchantment to Nolan. Its themes of the person vs. an imposing forms, life in a surveillance state, bodily and temporal dislocation, and the lack of identification are all concepts that the director has touched on in earlier works, starting from Memento (2000) to the Darkish Knight trilogy to Inception (2010) to Tenet (2020). The present’s surreal mixture of dystopian science fiction, existential thriller, and spy drama – one well-liked fan idea means that Quantity Six is definitely undercover agent John Drake, the protagonist of McGoohan’s earlier collection, Hazard Man – are all proper within the filmmaker’s wheelhouse, albeit in a mixture that he hasn’t but created in his work so far.

Curiously, The Prisoner was on Nolan’s radar as soon as earlier than: in 2009, between the discharge of The Darkish Knight the yr earlier than and Inception in 2010, it was extensively reported that the filmmaker was engaged on a big-screen remake. He allegedly deserted it after information surfaced {that a} six-part AMC miniseries was within the works (that model, starring Jim Caviezel as Quantity Six and Ian McKellen as Quantity Two, aired in November 2009 and was a tedious, incoherent catastrophe). Usually, Nolan has stated little about his personal try to deal with The Prisoner, solely telling Selection in 2023 that he “couldn’t fairly crack” the difference.

Might Remaking The Prisoner Be a Lure?

With its themes of particular person liberty and anti-establishment resistance, to not point out its English vacation resort setting and colourful, even psychedelic imagery, The Prisoner was very a lot a product of its time – the late ‘60s – and is perhaps robust to adapt in a contemporary model for that very cause. The 2009 remake traded all that, even the manufacturing design, for a extra bland, sterilized have a look at identification politics that, as typical today, provided up lame “thriller field” solutions for its many preliminary enigmas.

But the weather that make The Prisoner so distinctive and retro-futuristic are additionally the features that Nolan might manipulate to his personal benefit. It was formally experimental for its time, and anybody who has seen most of Nolan’s filmography, particularly movies like Inception, Dunkirk, and Oppenheimer, is aware of he has no drawback with that, nor with surrealism. And whereas his motion pictures need to date largely labored inside a extra muted visible palate, adapting the colourful, kaleidoscopic mise en scène of The Prisoner to a contemporary blockbuster could possibly be the form of problem that this filmmaker likes to set for himself.

At this level, The Prisoner has form of light within the public zeitgeist, as newer generations have by no means seen the unique and maybe solely fleetingly heard of it. That additionally provides Nolan the chance to stretch the premise and materials in no matter route he sees match, with out having to fret about alienating huge hordes of followers able to pounce on social media if he will get the lower of Quantity Six’s jacket improper. But on the identical time, the essential situation is so robust and so weird that Nolan would possibly hesitate to lose sight of what made the unique present so compelling. However seeing that its themes and mixture of genres are so prevalent in his work already, we think about that he’s maybe the one director who might pull this off.

With the big, unprecedented success of Oppenheimer giving Nolan extra inventive freedom than maybe ever earlier than for a mainstream, big-budget filmmaker, ought to Nolan remake a semi-forgotten, 60-year-old TV present – or dive headfirst into the James Bond franchise, one other long-rumored chance – or use the leverage he’s obtained now to make one thing utterly new and unique? Within the company echelons of Hollywood, Nolan is now maybe the one director who can shout Quantity Six’s most well-known line – “I’m not a quantity, I’m a free man!” – and imply it.




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