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Film Auteur and Defender of Cinema Christopher Nolan Loves The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Because it's the car movie Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

As popular as it’s become with mainstream audiences, the Fast & Furious franchise does not get a whole lot of respect among those who like to think their taste in movies is more sophisticated than most. You know the type. They use words like “cinema” and call movies “motion pictures” unironically. Their favorite movies are always some combination of Citizen Kane and The Boondock Saints. They’re exactly the kind of dudes who’d be in line at their local theater on opening night of the latest Christopher Nolan flick, even in the midst of a pandemic

Well, let the film snob community-wide existential crisis begin because it has recently come to light that Christopher Nolan himself is a bit of a fan of the big-and-bombastic car movie franchise with movie number three, Tokyo Drift, being a particular favorite. Christopher Nolan loves The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Let me say that again. Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight, Dunkirk, Inception, and Memento, loves The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Take that, “cinephiles.”

YouTube | The Fast Saga

The acclaimed director confirmed his affinity for the Vin Diesel-led franchise in a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. When host Josh Horowitz asked which one was his favorite, the British auteur replied, “I’m sort of original recipe… but I’ve got a very soft spot for Tokyo Drift actually. And with Justin Lin’s iterations, as they got crazier and bigger and crazier and bigger, they became something else, but something else kind of fun.”

Nolan even defended the movie franchise against the common criticism that recent installments have gotten overblown, a stance often held by car people and uttered alongside the accusation that the series is no longer “about the cars.” Whatever that means. 

“The fun thing about those movies is even as they got bigger and bigger and bigger—as sequels have to do—everyone always complains that the sequels get bigger but we are the people that are making sequels get bigger. We do want them bigger. You don’t want them smaller. See Alien 3? You can do it but it’s not gonna make anybody happy even though personally I love that film.”

To give you an idea of how seriously Nolan takes his filmmaking, this is a man who still insists on shooting on film rather than digital, has defended using borderline-inaudible dialogue because… reasons, and has been one of the most vocal detractors of Warner Brothers’ recent decision to release all 17 of its upcoming 2021 releases onto HBO Max on the same day they come out in theaters. Nolan is a staunchly old-school movie director who prioritizes quality above pretty much everything else, is what we’re trying to impart. 

Given that, Fast fans should no longer feel the need to hide their love for the action movie franchise or write it off as a guilty pleasure. If it’s good enough for Chris Nolan, it’s probably good enough for anyone.

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