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Date of Award
Thesis-ISU Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
School of Communication
John P. McHale
This study investigated how Christopher Nolan creates and uses strategic ambiguity in two of his films, The Prestige (2006) and Inception (2010). To do so, I studied these films through the lens of film semiotics and narrative theory while using a constant comparative analysis to identify and compare techniques Nolan utilizes. The study found that Nolan uses similar techniques across both films: editing, narrative disorder, narrative gaps, ambiguous language, illogic, twists, and recurring motifs. However, the techniques in The Prestige are used to create moral ambiguity and a twist that resolves the narrative. The techniques in Inception are used to create narrative ambiguity and an ending that creates polysemic readings of the film. Implications and future research suggestions are also discussed.
Ruiz, Isaac, ""You want to be fooled": Exploring Semiotics, Polysemy, and Strategic Ambiguity in Christopher Nolan Films" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1076.