Christopher Nolan has established himself as one of the finest filmmakers in the modern era. Priding himself on making intelligent and provocative movies, Nolan has taken science mainstream again and made it cool. Having crafted some of the most beautiful and epic films of the past 20-years, Nolan appears to be going from strength to strength as a writer and director.
Having formed a hugely successful screenwriting partnership with his brother Jonathan, and some great acting collaborations with the likes of Christian Bale and Tom Hardy, Nolan has become the go-to blockbuster filmmaker. Considered the Kubrick of his generation, Nolan looks set to be one of the most revered filmmakers of all-time. It’s never too late to discover the work of this genius, and check out some of the best movies he’s done.
The movie that catapulted Nolan into the big time, Memento is one of the cleverest movies of the past 20 years. Using a nonlinear structure, and an outstanding performance from Guy Pearce, the film is arguably Nolan’s slickest and most taut film. Every major studio passed on the movie, before Newmarket Films picked it up, and gave Nolan a budget of $4.5 million. It’s a powerful and impressive movie about the importance of memories, how they can shape our lives, and their unreliability. If you’ve never seen this movie, we urge you to pick up a copy and get it watched as soon as you can.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight is widely considered to be Nolan’s best work and did a lot to help the continued emergence of the comic book movie. Focusing on The Joker, and his attempts to create chaos for the residents of Gotham, as well as Batman himself, the story takes some dark twists and turns. In some ways, this is less a Batman movie, and more a crime movie that happens to have the Caped Crusader in it. But, we actually think that works to its advantage, and it’s a fascinating character study of morality and good vs. evil. Oh, and Heath Ledger deserved his Oscar, even if it was posthumous.
Nolan has tackled war before, in The Dark Knight Rises, but that was more metaphorical. In Dunkirk, he actually dives in and focuses on World War II’s Dunkirk evacuation. Told over three different narrative strains; land, sea, and air, Dunkirk is a frenetic and riveting war epic. If you don’t like war movies this probably isn’t for you; otherwise, you’re going to love it. The movie is a triumph of technical and experimental filmmaking and has some of the best editing and cinematography of any war flick we’ve seen. This is some of Nolan’s best work, and proof he keeps getting better as a filmmaker.
Chris Nolan has made 10 movies and explored a variety of themes and topics over the course of those films. Choosing a list of the favorites from those ten is very difficult, but we feel like these three movies represent the very best of what Nolan has achieved, and continues to achieve, as a filmmaker. If you’ve not seen these three, we recommend you watch them as soon as you can.