Brendan Shick | Freelance Film, Broadcast, & Digital Media

4 Must Watch Director’s Commentaries – Even if You’re Not a Film Geek

4 Must Watch Director's Commentaries - Even if You're Not a Film Geek

4 Director's Commentaries for any sensibility or taste! At least one of these will appeal to you...
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Insomnia (2002) Adds Interesting Twist to Director’s Commentary

Dec 10 2011 by Brendan Shick Add Your Thoughts

Insomnia (2002)It’s rare that I single out one director’s commentary as being better or worse than another.

In general, I feel like listening to any director’s take on their film is well worth the effort for budding filmmakers (and often even for us seasoned ones). There are few ways to get a better perspective on what happens within the filmmaking process (other than actually living it, of course).

Nonetheless, my recent watch of the commentary on Insomnia (2002) sparked me to write this post.

It’s not merely because Christopher Nolan happens to be one of my favorite and most respected directors. It’s not even necessarily because this commentary is better than others (although I would rank it high).

No, this commentary is quite unique in how it is presented.

Nolan opted to have the commentary play in the order that the film was shot – that is shooting day one, shooting day two, etc. instead of scene 1, scene 2, etc. Each new day is subtitled with the shooting date and a list of scenes shot that day.

At the beginning of the commentary, Nolan explains that he thinks this approach will give the viewer a better experience of what the crew went through while shooting the film. In my opinion, it definitely did and more audio commentaries should be structured this way for that very reason.

By its design, this approach makes the commentary primarily focused on the production stage of the process, which is fine by me (for those more interested in post-production, editor Dody Dorn does have a separate, albeit short, audio commentary included on the DVD). However, viewing the film in this sequence also affords the viewer great insight into the scheduling aspects of pre-production.

Overall, I found this unique take very appealing, informative, and well worth watching – enough so that I thought I’d point it out for my readers. Format of the commentary aside, Christopher Nolan’s thoughts are interesting and insightful as always. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links. That means making a purchase costs you nothing extra, but I may receive compensation for referrals. It helps me keep the site running. I never recommend products that (a) I don't actually like or that (b) I wouldn't recommended without a commission. You can read the full details here.


Brendan Shick

Brendan Shick is a freelance DP, gaffer, and sports broadcaster serving primarily the Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Fort Wayne, IN, regions. You can find out more by following this blog, his recent work on Vimeo, or by connecting with him on Twitter or LinkedIn. Brendan is also an occasional contributor to the Project Updates feed for one of his most recent films, To Turn Back Time.


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