The Ultimate Christopher Nolan List
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The Dark Knight (2008)
This movie is a masterpiece. Why? No, it isn't because of its over hype by the media, its box office success, high praise by critics, or a chilling performance by Heath Ledger, but because it is simply the greatest movie in a genre. Superhero films are usually corny with little character development, a focus totally on action, and no human drama. However, this installment in Nolan's Batman franchise is a intense drama more than an action flick. Much like Sam Rami's Spiderman 2, Nolan's The Dark Knight dares to be more than what is expected and that is a good thing.
The Prestige (2006)
Following Batman Begins, the Prestige shows a more mature side to Nolan's film making. The story is extremely dense and emotional. The pace of the movie is unrelenting. There is much wonder above the rival magicians leading to great twists and turns in the plot. It has the best ending of any of Nolan's films.
Rarely remakes of films are any good. However, this is an example of where the remake is actually better than the original. What impressed me the most about Nolan's second major motion picture work was he kept his identity he established in Memento without selling out to the big studio. His dark tones, character interactions, and editing techniques (especially use of flashback) are all present. It is in my opinion, his most underrated work.
Inception is an interesting film. I did thoroughly enjoy it, but at times, I felt Nolan made a film entirely too complicated. It is intriguing and original, but sometimes felt bloated. I will give Nolan props however, the hallway fight scene is one of the best scenes I've seen in film in years.
It is a simple film with a simple plot. What I like about this film is this is really where it all began for Nolan. The antagonist manipulates the protagonist, leading to some downfall for the hero. The tone is dark the entire way through, and the plot twist is great. Without it, there none of these other films would exist.
Batman Begins (2005)
This film would be higher on the list had The Dark Knight never been made. A great superhero movie, with a more serious approach, Nolan gave the Batman franchise the reboot it seriously needed. The tone of the Batman comics if very much the tone in all of Nolan's films, so it is no surprise he seems comfortable recreating Gotham. However, Nolan's The Dark Knight improved upon this film's shortcomings so much, it honestly makes this movie appear amateur.
Nolan's most overrated work, it is still a fresh view. Nolan coming off of Following tried to make another original film. While indeed this film is original, it is filled with plot holes. However, if you can look past some of the issues with the story and appreciate its bold approach to film making, there is little doubt why this film is such a cult-classic.
Love him or hate him, there is little doubt Christopher Nolan has been one of the most influential filmmakers of the past decade. From the cult film Following to the summer blockbuster Inception, Nolan has established himself as a successful and important figure in the world of cinema. At forty years young, there will be much more to come from him in the future.
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