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Christopher Nolan Films - Ranked
Movie list created by Bml93
Sort by: Showing 11 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Worst to Best
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Taken from my review. Check my profile for full review.
"Christopher Nolan does the impossible. When no one thought it would ever be possible to create a superhero film that's better than The Dark Knight, Nolan dishes up The Dark Knight Rises. Which is actually better, and therefore the best film in what's definitively the greatest trilogy in the history of cinema. It's a more than worthy conclusion to Nolan's Batman films and it is exactly the conclusion that we dared to hope for. I pity the fool who attempt to reboot or continue these films. Because there is hardly anything that can compare to what Nolan managed to do over these three films. After Joel Schumacher's terrible films, Nolan did indeed resurrect this hero and have now raised the bar for superhero films. The Avengers tried to set a new standard earlier this year. In my opinion, it didn't come anywhere close, but if it did, then surely The Dark Knight Rises have exploded those again. This is the ultimate superhero film.
Nolan is easily one of the most ambitious filmmakers living today and The Dark Knight Rises might just be his most ambitious film so far, at least it is the largest. While being larger doesn't necessarily always mean it's better, that's easily the case here. It's slightly better than The Dark Knight because it is much larger. The spectacle in The Dark Knight Rises is tremendous, gorgeously filmed with amazing special effects (and not overusing CGI). Nolan shows us yet again a very different, but exciting way of showing action. The way he edits the convoluted story by showing different action in different scenes at the same time, and how he still manages to keep the action and suspense trough the entire running time is spectacular. The Dark Knight Rises doesn't just work as a brilliant comic book film, or as an excellent way to conclude a trilogy, it's a brilliant action film as well. I've seen several people complaining that Nolan doesn't manage to direct action very well, but I do think that's just ridiculous. Surely, he doesn't exactly produce the most glorified action sequences, but that's simply because he doesn't need that in his films. He directs action and fight scenes that feels and looks real. There is a fight scene in this film between Batman and Bane. Where Bane breaks Batman's back. It's just wonderful. This is a scene that is almost just simple boxing, but still it is easily one of the greatest fight scenes in cinema. Just because it feels real. It feels like they are actually beating each other!"
Christopher Nolan's remake to the Norwegian film is an excellent example of how to do a remake. By taking everything that was good in the original, keep it, improve it and add your own touch to it. That's exactly what Nolan has done to Insomnia, which is a criminally underrated film.
Benefiting from a surprisingly chilling performance from Robin Williams, Insomnia is an atmospheric thriller that does a very good job in exploring the characters psychology.
If you're going to make a film that completely ignores any sort of character development and emotion, is really heavy on the exposition and features an extremely loud sound mix - you better do it as Christopher Nolan did with TENET. Because this film fucks you up in the most delicious way. Also a film that demands repeated viewings. Can't wait to see it again.
Batman Begins (2005)
Not only did this film save the reputation of Batman, but it showed us that it's possible to create a truly dark and gritty superhero film if the right material is present. Gone are all the campy and silly stuff, and instead Nolan brought in some very much welcome realism, darkness and smartness. This combined with a stellar cast and terrific action, and you've got yourself a film that's as entertaining as it is emotionally captivating.
This is also how you reboot a character. Batman Begins is an excellent origins film. It stays mostly true to comics, but takes necessary liberties to create a full rich experience that draws out the true essence of Batman. That's an achievement worth celebrating.
The Prestige (2006)
Christopher Nolan's keen eye for details really comes to light in The Prestige. The film opens up with a line that says "Are you watching closely?" Which is something you'll have to do. This is a complex, smart and brilliantly crafted film.
It's also one of the few films that features a twist ending that still holds up on multiple viewings, and when a film is capable of that, you know you're watching something that's extraordinary special.
Taken from my review. Check my profile for full review.
"Nolan have previously been criticized a lot for being too cold, and lacking emotion in his films. A consensus I completely disagree with, as Inception is extremely emotional. But Interstellar takes that level one step further, and it almost feels like Nolan has painted another brush of emotion just as answer to his critics. Interstellar is very emotional. There's an emotional core in this film that's really strong. McConaughey's relationship with his family, and the way that he sets out on this journey in order to save them and the rest of the human race causes for several emotional moments that really pulls my heart strings. The sequence that leads up to McConaughey leaving the Earth, where he have to say goodbye to his daughter is absolutely devastating. So is the scene where he watches video clips that he has gotten from his family while he has been gone. There are naturally many other scenes gives an emotional punch, but I'm not going to mention them all. What I will mention however is that I absolutely love that Nolan goes full circle with it and gives us that powerful moment of emotional catharsis in the end. I also like how it goes beyond the emotion that family dynamics gives us. How love can transcend through time and space, and not to mention how it explores the idea we were never meant to die on Earth. All this combined causes Interstellar to be a very powerful film, that had me shedding some tears.
Someone who deserves a lot of praise for causing the sentimentality and emotion in Interstellar to work so well is Hans Zimmer. While I didn't think it was possible for Zimmer to top what he did with Nolan on Inception, I think he actually managed to outdo himself this time. The score for Interstellar is tremendous. Yes, it's loud and present, and might be too much for some, but it gives every scene that little extra spark for it to stand out even more. He walks the thin line between being too manipulative and perfectly balanced, but manages to stay on the right side.
Dunkirk is a visual masterpiece of storytelling, unlike anything you've ever seen in recent years. We've gotten countless of films centered around World War II throughout the years, but what Christopher Nolan have achieved with Dunkirk is outstanding. He's taken a genre that have become rather formulaic over the years and shattered it completely. He breaks the formula and creates a film that should aspire other directors to follow his example.
I see the word "immersive" being tossed around in regards to several other films every now and then, but Dunkirk is one of the few film that I truly believes deserves to be called immersive. It's fully tense experience that doesn't let hold of you until it explodes in an emotionally satisfying climax. This is all achieved with stunning visuals, perfect use of practical effects and a ticking score by Hans Zimmer that seamlessly blends in with the sound design. Dunkirk is so intense that you feel exhausted when it's over. It's a film that truly captures just how horrible and pointless war is, particularly for the people involved and that feeling translates well to the audience.
Dunkirk have opened to critical acclaim from critics, which is well-deserved. Though the film has received some criticism for its lack of character development. This is true. The film doesn't have any character development, nor does it have any stand-out characters. Usually I would agree that this is a flaw, but due to nature of how Dunkirk is and what it essentially is about, I attribute this as one of the film's strengths instead. It's a film that doesn't require characters to sit down and talk about their back stories, motivations and goals for us to be emotionally invested in them. This time around, we get emotionally invested in them because of the situation their in. We care about them simply as humans stuck in a horrible war with death all around them. The tense nature of the film wouldn't have worked if the film were to take its time and properly introduce us to each character. We do follow some characters throughout the film, but they're more like framework in this case, to base the film around them. As of such, there's very little dialogue in this film. There's very little exposition. It's a film about the event itself and the way that Nolan deconstructed the traditional formula to tell this story in a clean and visual way is something that ought to be celebrated.
One important thing to mention is the gorgeous cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema. The film is beautiful to look at and it deserves to be seen on the largest screen possible in order to fully get the scale and spectacle of it, but also the intimacy and claustrophobic feel the film has. Dunkirk is a masterpiece. It's a cleverly structured film that with the help of the highest level of technical craftsmanship goes beyond what you would normally expect from a war film. It's not a film for those who want character driven pieces, but for those of us who want the filmmaking itself to lure us in to an intense and emotionally rich film.
The Dark Knight (2008)
With Heath Ledger's amazing portrayal as Batman's arch nemesis, The Joker, at the core, The Dark Knight is an incredibly rich and entertaining crime saga. The Dark Knight is not only one of the greatest comic book films of all time, it's among the greatest films ever created. It's an prime example of how you can create a thoughtful, deep, multi-layered action spectacle that outshines crime epics such as Heat, even if the hero is dressed up as a bat.
The action is spectacular, the visuals are jaw-dropping, the performances are equally excellent. The Joker doesn't just end up being a damn good villain in a Batman film, but he ends up being one of the most memorable characters to boast the screen ever. He's a villain that's just as terrifying as he is sadistic. Jack Nicholson may have played his part for laughs, Ledger brings menace to the role. And to be able to witness him going up against the Caped Crusader is film magic.
Well, what can be said about the mighty Inception? Christopher Nolan's complex masterpiece ain't only my favorite of him, but it is also my favorite film of all time. I've watched it several times, and I constantly see something new in it. The originality, the acting, the score, the photography, the visuals and the multi-layered action. What's not to love here? Nolan creates a new world, and I lose myself into it. Every time.
It is one of the most beautiful, emotionally effective, and thoughtful films ever to be created. It's an example of how you can create a grand blockbuster, but yet create something that requires a brain to fully understand. Inception restored hope for summer blockbusters, and this is a film that deserves a deeper treatment than what I'm giving it at the moment. But it's just one of those films that leaves you speechless. It's spectacular.
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