The Dark Knight Rises Occupy Wall Street vs. A Tale of Two Cities. Many have remarked on the similarities between the Occupy Wall Street movement and Christopher Nolan's last movie in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan has denied that TDKR was inspired by the movement, for the film was conceived before Occupy Wall Street (and Occupy other locales) became global news.
At a press conference, the director's bother and co-screenwriter, Jonathan Nolan, explained that the influence for their here-and-now Gotham setting was a 19th-century English novel: Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.
The Dark Knight Rises before Occupy Wall Street
“After the second film came out, it was before the recession and Occupy Wall Street,” Jonathan Nolan is quoted as saying in Wired.com. “Rather than being influenced by that, we looked at old books and movies, and at some point I found A Tale of Two Cities to be captivating.”
Jonathan Nolan added that “the other movies keep threatening to turn Gotham City inside out so it collapses on itself, but they never really achieved that. A Tale of Two Cities was the most harrowing portrait of a relatable, recognizable civilization falling to pieces.”
Set in the aftermath of the French Revolution, the two cities in Charles Dickens' novel are London and Paris. It was the best of times in the former; the worst of times in the latter.
“Paris, during that period – it's hard to imagine things going that terribly wrong,” added Jonathan Nolan. “That became a great inspiration for The Dark Knight Rises.”
Now, will Bruce Wayne declaim “It's a far far better thing I do than I have ever done before. A far better resting place I go to than I have ever known” while on his way to the guillotine? Don't bet on that. But it'll be interesting to see if Wayne becomes a modern Sydney Carton of sorts.
Previous incarnations of Sydney Carton, I should add, include Ronald Colman in Jack Conway's Oscar-nominated A Tale of Two Cities (1935) and Dirk Bogarde in Ralph Thomas' 1958 version of Dickens' tale.
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The Dark Knight Rises Bane picture: Warner Bros.