CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S MOVIES: WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
Christopher Nolan is one of the great names in contemporary cinema. After modest beginnings, and the time to assert himself, he made his genre evolve with big productions. Discover Christopher Nolan movies ranked!
Christopher Nolan’s movies
Following, the follower (1999)
In any ranking, there must be a last one. And it’s Christopher Nolan’s very first feature film, Following, that inherits this spot. The British director assembles a low-budget film about a writer who is out of inspiration and spends his time following strangers in the street.
One of these targets will lead him into a funny situation. In just one hour and ten minutes, Nolan tells his story by relying heavily on his direction. We can already see his talent, in a project that shows mischief by using the economy to create suspense.
Even with his script reduced to the bare minimum, Nolan has fun with the audience and wants to surprise them. An approach that will irrigate the rest of his work.
Just before Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan signs a third feature film in which he continues to refine his style where the narrative complexity serves to keep the spectator on the edge of his seat. Insomnia presents Al Pacino as a cop in search of a killer.
During a pursuit, he shoots his partner without meaning to. The killer has seen everything and will blackmail him. A duel of exquisite actors, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank, a suffocating atmosphere, and a scenario that keeps you on your toes. Three arguments make Insomnia a very good entertainment above the usual productions.
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The Prestige (2006)
Through the prism of a confrontation between two magicians, Christopher Nolan draws an obvious parallel between magic and the power of cinema. The Prestige is based on the lucid intention of its author, who wants to deliver a reflection on his medium and his art, based on illusion.
Fooling us, surprising us, or losing us is a recurrent theme in his work. From Following he showed his desire to draw up scenarios that will take surprising turns.
The Prestige is right in the middle of this, with some good and some not-so-good. We touch on one of the limits of Nolan’s style, which seems to force the lines to add complexity on complexity.
Before putting his taste for convoluted scenarios at the service of multi-million dollar productions, Christopher Nolan could do the same with more minimal projects.
Memento, his second film, is a harbinger of things to come. Much more surprising than Following, this script follows a man bereaved by the death of his wife.
Determined to find the person responsible, he investigates in his corner with a big handicap: an amnesia that makes him forget what he does and where he goes. With such a character, Christopher Nolan builds a sinuous plot, where the spectator gets lost and has to gather the elements he gets in disorder.
The management of suspense, within the scenes and the overall montage, touches a form of genius.
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A strange proposal that Dunkirk, from a director whose sophistication (especially narrative), is the keyword. He takes the problem in the other direction with this war film by betting on purified writing.
Based on real facts, he chooses to build his entire edifice around the sound, image, and assembly of the two: editing.
Immersion almost touches on experimentation in the context of his filmography. Apart from Following, he had never had so little script at hand.
The fact that Dunkirk comes out after elaborate behemoths like Interstellar, Inception, or the Batman trilogy makes the approach even more interesting. One feels that he wants to return to a more stripped-down form, with the consequent means that he is now allocated at this stage of his career.
Batman Begins (2005)
Christopher Nolan takes the Batman story from scratch. The expected steps are there, and it’s less by the scenario than by the treatment that the director wins the first round.
With seriousness, he sets the stakes in Batman Begins that will drive Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne. Nolan applies himself to wrap up his story by giving it all the consistency it deserves. Without this undermining work, the ambitious The Dark Knight trilogy wouldn’t have been possible. Because it takes solid ramifications to support such dense pieces without losing coherence.
When Inception was released, there was firstly a sense of amazement. The summer blockbusters don’t accustom us to think anymore and that’s where Christopher Nolan arrives with a high concept that serves him, then, to build a maze of action scenes.
The impression of seeing a great intelligent spectacle fades a little during the viewing (and even more so when seeing the film several times) because the writing makes tons of it on concepts that aren’t so complicated to assimilate. The long explanatory tunnels initiate all the issues and then give way to other tunnels – they are more enjoyable – where the thunderous show beats to the rhythm of Hans Zimmer’s notes.
For its completely crazy second hour, Inception largely deserves its place in the upper part of the ranking.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The place of this conclusion to the Batman trilogy in this ranking may arouse some disputes. The Dark Knight Rises 2012 isn’t a complete success but it is carried by a treatment that is almost an exception in superhero cinema. It takes a bit of a beating in managing so much ambition but its determination overcomes the imperfection.
To go after the unforgettable Joker, Bane is chosen. Another style is more muscle. An antagonist who erases the one who should be the star, Batman. The costumed hero only appears after 45 minutes of the film, a practice that is unthinkable nowadays.
Then, the main attraction is beaten very largely in his first confrontation with Bane. A fight that will plunge him into a physical and mental reconstruction to try his luck again, later. In the structure of The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan is not afraid to make strong confusing choices and to take his time (2h36) by assuming his thematic motives launched from the first opus without denying the components of a great show.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The appeal of The Dark Knight is sometimes shortened to the case of Heath Ledger. His memorable performance and his unfortunate disappearance elevate the film into an even higher sphere. Such a villain parasites the attention so much that his hold on the rest is sprawling.
But the central opus of the trilogy deserves a chorus of praise for its overall vision, which veers more into the thriller than the pure superhero movie with supernatural trappings. Almost only Batman can do that, as he has no powers.
Christopher Nolan arranges his scenario around this struggle between evil in its most uncontrollable and a figure of good who questions his actions. With the Joker as its central figure, The Dark Knight evokes the best of American crime films (the introduction will make everyone agree on this), in a modern (the shadow of 9/11 hangs over the film), intelligent and original retelling of a universe known to all.
Christopher Nolan’s best film is based on its combination of a very unexpected plot and an unstoppable emotional impact. It’s the first time that his cinema manages to move us so much.
We love the richness of his works, but Nolan isn’t one of the greats of the profession when it comes to playing with the emotions of his audience. On his part, the titanic journey made by Matthew McConaughey is even a miracle.
Interstellar 2014 is a big movie in every sense: the longest of its author, the most spectacular, and the most advanced in the development of its concept. But the most astonishing thing is that behind the facade of a huge science-fiction steamroller lies a much simpler melodrama about a family scattered in the cogs of Time.
What do you think? Did you enjoy these films?