Critics are comparing Christopher Nolan to Stanley Kubrick. But how similar are they?

Kubrick / Nolan

Some film critics have been comparing Christopher Nolan and the late Stanley Kubrick. However, many are questioning if comparing these two directors is fair.

After the success of Dunkirk at the box office, it seems that several film critics believe that Nolan is now on the level of Kubrick. But how close to the legacy of Kubrick is he?

To really compare both of their careers is very strenuous because even though both have created some great films, both directors vary in style. Kubrick is known for having a raw and conflicting style that was maintained throughout his films. He also consistently challenged his viewers with themes that many see as taboo even nowadays in films such as ‘Lolita’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘2001: A Space Odysey’. Nolan, on the other hand, challenged viewers minds in slightly different ways in films such ‘Inception’, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘The Prestige’ through pure action and took on the superhero Batman, which showcased his siding with commercial cinema.

Of course, Nolan is still making films so no one can know what he will make during the rest of his career, therefore comparing these directors is basically not possible until he completes his journey as a director. Actually, comparing any two directors is near to impossible as creative subjects like film are purely subjective. One can say Kubrick is the best of all time and another may say Nolan is the worst of all time. Of course, you can compare elements like cinematography, sound, and costume. But over the years these elements change in the way they are percieved and made. Consistent technology improvement would give arguably give an unfair advantage to Nolan. But, of course, we could also argue that this technology would be not possible if not for films such as 2001 by Kubrick, who made so much with so little and opened up the eyes for the next generation of directors.

So, to really know if they are on the same heights is a matter of time. Maybe in thirty or fifty years, we will see many directors being influenced by Nolan as we have seen many being influenced by Kubrick nowadays. Conclusively, the only thing that really tells the greatness of the director is the influence he or she has had on another director and the film industry overall.

We also took a poll via our social media which asked “Some claim Nolan has reached the heights of Kubrick. Do you think he has?”. A total of 27% answered with a ‘Yes’ and 73% said ‘No’.