5 Best Christopher Nolan Films

Christopher Nolan is a legendary film director who has made a historical impact on the movie industry. While Christopher Nolan is now synonymous with “prestige blockbuster” films, he didn't start off making massive films. Nolan began by making small-scale films, working his way up to his first blockbuster. Throughout this journey, he kept his filmmaking sensibilities intact: ambitious and sometimes ambiguous narrative structure, incredibly serious and high-stakes stories, and an eye for detail at every department of the filmmaking process. Nolan has so much clout that he rather saved film photography from being rendered obsolete by digital. As global audiences await the release of Christopher Nolan's epic historical drama, it feels prudent to discuss five of my personal favorites.

Interstellar (2014)

Language – English

Cast – Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain

Right after tasting success with the Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan aimed to expand his horizons further with a genuine sci-fi epic. The first two-thirds of the film is wonderfully engaging and inventive. The world-building of the landscape of new planets is tremendous with Nolan conjuring some truly spectacular blends of practical and visual effects.

Nolan even got physicist Kip Thorne on board as a consultant. Alongside, the driving emotional fulcrum of Interstellar is the internal struggle between the protagonist's desire to see his family again and the aim to further propagate the human species, with the character doing everything in his power to accomplish both. However, the problem with Interstellar is Nolan's need to throw in “one last twist” to surprise his audience. The climax is slightly awkward. But it certainly does not take away from Interstellar being a great film that blended scientific phenomena, environmental dystopia, and unabashed sentiment magnificently.

Inception (2010)

Language – English

Cast – Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Elliot Page, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine

Inception is a cerebral blockbuster that was an over-ambitious project from a story point of view. That Nolan was able to see this multi-layered ensemble narrative based on an outlandish concept to fruition is a minor miracle. Nolan blends a heist film with elements of sci-fi, designing it like a psychological thriller with a big-budget spectacle. Inception works on a number of levels, and one that's mighty engaging is the correlation between this group of dream-heist artists and a filmmaking team.

Cobb is the film director, Ellen Page's architect is his screenwriter, Tom Hardy's forger is his actor, Ken Watanabe's moneyman is the studio head, etc. They are all working towards one goal to make dreams become reality. It has now become a norm to find YouTube videos titled “Ending Explained” for all of Christopher Nolan's films. Yet, Inception has a climax that no one can completely decipher. The deliberately intriguing climax is still debated making Inception one of the most incredible films in modern Hollywood.

Dunkirk (2017)

Language – English

Cast – Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy

Dunkirk is a WW2 epic retold like no one ever did before. Nolan's retelling of the harrowing evacuation of Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk is perhaps the pinnacle of Nolan's various experiments in editing and structure. The director intercuts three narrative timelines – based on the sea, the land, and the air – which culminate in some surprising twists in the story. Perhaps Nolan trusted his audience to get what he was doing without his having to resort to exposition and dialogue. Nolan relies on immersive visuals and Hans Zimmer's haunting score to convey the tension and chaos of war.

There is something about purists like Christopher Nolan who want to capture things as practically as possible and Dunkirk is a marvel in attempting that wholly. Working with cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema on IMAX and 65mm film, Nolan captures imagery that put the audience right in the midst of the war.

The Prestige (2006)

Language – English

Cast – Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson

Nolan's sole literary adaptation, based on Christopher Priest's 1995 novel, is a period drama about warring Victorian magicians filled with illusion and fantasy. The narrative is a thrilling take on the professional rivalry between two magicians played wonderfully by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. It stays ahead of the audience till the jaw-dropping climax unfolds.

Christopher Nolan's films have almost always flirted with the audience's sense of time and memory in a way to warrant two viewings for grasping the nuances in the plot completely. The Prestige was no different. Once the audience has watched the marvelous climax, the experience of watching the film again is like new.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Language – English

Cast – Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman

This film re-invented the Superhero Genre in Hollywood. The entire DC Universe has basically been built around this film's success. Yet, none of the following movies have come close to matching the sweep and power of Nolan's second Batman outing, which is really a gangster epic masquerading as a superhero flick. It merged blockbuster action with intense storytelling that stimulated on a visceral, intellectual, and emotional level. Aided majorly by the possessed-of-sorts acting by Heath Ledger, playing the manic villain Joker, this film changed the landscape of Superhero films in Hollywood films.

Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for playing a comic book Supervillain that was unheard of in Hollywood history. The action is engrossing and dynamic, the Joker is iconic and the emotional turmoil that Bruce Wayne suffers is philosophical and political. Nolan's sequel to Batman Begins is as hard-edged as reinforced titanium.

The much-speculated-about release of Oppenheimer is upon us, and the film seems like a Blockbuster in the making with the humongous sales of advance tickets. Given the ambitious and often-obsessive nature with which Christopher Nolan approaches his projects, every Nolan film feels special. Oppenheimer should be no different.



An honest SCORPIO who is crazy about movies, and overly passionate about travel.
Believes in immortalizing the moment, either by way of the photograph or literal documentation of the journey.

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