With the release of OppenheimerIt’s time to rank all of director Christopher Nolan’s movies from worst to best (BWAAAAHM!). This was not an easy task. Unlike the fifth rank Indiana Jones movies or seven Mission: Impossible Movies, Nolan offers 12 films ranging from historical dramas (Dunkirk, Oppenheimer), to science fiction thrillers (Interstellar, TenetTo Mysteries (The Prestige, Memento) to his Batman trilogy. With it, Nolan emerged as one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, one of the few who can count on theater seats on an opening weekend, considered the last resort for grown-up movie fans. All of Nolan’s movies are here, from the weakest to the strongest.
12. Insomnia (2002)
It says a lot about Nolan that the “worst” movie he ever directed is still good and worth watching. Insomnia It is a remake of the Norwegian title, perhaps the only film directed by Nolan and not written or co-written by him. Here a Los Angeles detective (Al Pacino) teams up with a small town detective (Hilary Swank) to solve a murder in remote Alaska. It’s a good, moody detective drama, but it lacks Nolan’s usual ambitious scope.
11. The Pursuit (1998)
Nolan’s first feature, a reported $6,000, showed all the promise for the then-20something director. Filmed in black and white, it has some of the themes he would explore for decades to come: it centers on a single-mindedly insane hero estranged from society who follows a code (sound familiar?), and has a twisty third and great expositional dialogue that rings Nolan. The feature centers on a man who follows strangers around London and ends up in more trouble than he expected after breaking his rule of never following the same person twice. At just 70 minutes, some might argue it’s not a feature-length film, but Nolan – who has put three years of his life together – says it’s as valid as anything he’s done.
10. Tenet (2020)
John David Washington is compelling as a secret agent trying to prevent World War III in the war between the present and the future. Tenet It feels like a collection of Nolan’s most frustrating habits – from the oppressive soundscape that grasps the dialogue, to the stylish-yet-flat characters, to a narrative that’s so convoluted that it sometimes loses the audience. stationary, Tenet It gets some shallow points for looking cool, feeling cool, and trying to do something real with time travel. (Review by THR.) (THR)’s review.
9. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Tom Hardy is fantastic as the fearsome terrorist Bane, and there are some powerful sequences in the climax of Nolan’s Batman trilogy (the plane hijacking opener and the trial of Bruce in The Pit). Also, the movie deserves credit for thinking big — criminals taking over Gotham City completely is a storyline that actually goes for it (as long as you don’t think too much about the credibility of a police force conveniently stuck in the sewers for months). (THR)’s review.
8. Memento (2000)
One that caught everyone’s attention: Nolan’s sophomore effort (co-written with his brother Jonathan) is a twisty noir thriller starring Guy Pearce as a man unable to form new memories trying to solve his wife’s murder. It’s a remarkable puzzle that showcases a filmmaker who can pull off an accessible genre film with a challenging narrative, all leading to an unforgettable ending.
7. Dunkirk (2017)
Dunkirk It is cleverly constructed from its very first shot, with British soldiers trying to flee Germany during World War II as they invade France, smashing leaflets on a street amid a ticking clock. Nolan’s skill at staging action is showcased in one gripping sequence after another. Yet many of the protagonists feel unknowable and interchangeable, keeping the audience at an emotional distance, and Nolan employs all the great cinematic techniques to bring us closer. (THR)’s review.
6. Interstellar (2014)
Nolan is often accused of being a cold filmmaker – and he can be. But there’s nothing standout about Matthew McConaughey’s powerful performance as an astronaut who abandons his daughter on a quest to find a new world to replace a dying Earth and save humanity. While the story has some plot holes (okay, a lot), the resulting ensemble is solid 2001: A Space Odyssey-inspired cinematic wonder and its emotional power make it one of Nolan’s most popular films (and currently his most successful non-superhero title at the box office). (THR)’s review.
5. The Beginning (2010)
From here, Nolan hit home runs. the beginning Nolan parlays many of his signature skills into a true blockbuster as he follows Leonardo DiCaprio as a man who plants false memories for his corporate clients. It’s visually stunning, extremely clever, and has the filmmaker’s best ending shot. Meanwhile, Hans Zimmer’s score has become an iconic memory bwaaaahm, which is one of the composer’s greatest efforts (see “Time”). (THR)’s review.
4. Batman Begins (2005)
first hour Batman begins Not just for the grown-up Dark Knight trilogy, it’s also a reimagining of what superhero movies can be, treated more like larger-than-life crime dramas with practical effects instead of cheesy save-the-world CGI-fueled dramas. Christian Bale quickly proves he’s the perfect successor to the cow, and there’s never been a better Alfred than Michael Caine, even if the film’s final act is a bit of a shocker.
3. The Prestige (2006)
The Prestige Based on Christopher Priest’s novel, this wonderful mystery about obsessive turn-of-the-century wizards stars Bale as a dogged, Hugh Jackman (“Don’t you know?!“), and a very intelligent Kane. The Nolan Brothers script uses voiceover and narration very confidently and persuasively, and has a final twist you might never expect.
2. Oppenheimer (2023)
Oppenheimer It’s long, rambling, and its final act goes from the fate of the world to men sitting around tables arguing about security clearances (imagine if Batman defeated the Scarecrow Batman begins Another 40 minutes discussing how to fix Gotham City’s damaged monorail system. Still, Nolan uses every great tool in his toolbox to create a dramatic masterpiece that has something his other, more pulpy films largely lack: modern-day real-world relevance. Based on biography American Prometheus, Nolan successfully tells the story of an important historical figure who champions science and reminds the world of the dangers of weapons of mass destruction. Ludwig Goransson’s score may be the best score in a Nolan film. Nolan’s hellish post-Trinity Test pep rally scene is perhaps the most deftly directed and emotionally powerful scene of his career. (THR(review and story of
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
Because you’re never going to see Oppenheimer As many times as you may have already seen The Dark Knight – As the clown says, it’s “so much fun.” Despite only appearing in 33 minutes of the 152-minute film, it’s the best superhero movie ever made, with Heath Ledger delivering an iconic (and posthumous Oscar-winning) performance as the Joker, beaming in every frame. The script (the Nolan brothers, with David S. Goyer) is fantastic, with many iconic lines (“Either you die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain” … “It’s all part of the plan…”). All the supporting actors pop, Zimmer’s score is terrifyingly tense, and the action sequences are grounded and effective. Many of Nolan’s films have long run times, but this is one you don’t want to end. (THR)’s review.
— Aaron Couch contributed to this story.