Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of his generation. He’s created some of the most important films of the 21st century, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

His films are always visually stunning and often thought-provoking. At this stage in his career he can do whatever he likes.

Movies

“Memento” (2000)
Nolan burst onto the scene with this brilliant film that has become a cult classic, known for its non-linear narrative. We interviewed star Guy Pearce who described his experience with the film:

Chris (Nolan), being as clever as he is, was capable of creating that film and able to articulate it in such a way and get it down on the page where everything, including the emotions of the story, was evident, and the logic, if you will, and the unusual nature of it was all very clear-cut. So even though it was tricky in the same way the film is tricky, you at least had the benefit when you read the script of going, ‘Hang on, I’m just going to go back and look at that last page again before I go on…

“Insomnia” (2002)
Nolan’s sophomore effort is a solid film starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank.

Batman Begins” (2005)
This film was a sensation and rebooted the Batman franchise in spectacular fashion. From our review by Jason Zingale:

Most fanboys have been holding their breath ever since they caught wind of Warner Brothers’ plans to reintroduce the Batman franchise on the big screen, but it’s finally safe to breathe again; “Batman Begins” is a knockout. Thanks to director Christopher Nolan and writer David S. Goyer, they finally got it right this time, and now fans can finally experience Batman the way it was meant to be seen. While Tim Burton’s original version of the film boasted a much darker, gothic look at the man behind the mask, his two films contained only a sliver of the darkness that Nolan manages to squeeze into “Begins,” which plays out much more like a film noir crime thriller than your average summer action movie. “Batman Begins” oozes suave intelligence and excellent action, and finally gives comic book fans a much-needed faith that their favorite hero can indeed soar again.

Batman Begins

The Prestige” (2006)
Our film critic Jason Zingale summed up Nolan’s rising career: It seems like every year we hear about a new group of up-and-coming filmmakers with the potential to become the next great Hollywood director, but it’s quite a rarity when the person in question really does rise to the occasion. Christopher Nolan is such a director. Over the past six years, Nolan has not only produced one of the greatest thrillers (“Memento”) in the history of the genre, but can also be credited for expertly rebooting one of the biggest superhero franchises in Hollywood (“Batman Begins”). And now, he’s struck gold for a third time with his sci-fi period drama, “The Prestige.”

The Dark Knight” (2008)

Could Nolan top himself after “Batman Begins?” He did just that with this stunning sequel, with Heath Ledger stealing the show. From Jason Zingale’s review:

For all the Oscar buzz surrounding Heath Ledger in the past few weeks, there still aren’t enough hours in the day to gush about his knockout performance as The Joker. It’s beyond phenomenal – a villainous turn so good that you never know what to expect next – and it puts Jack Nicholson’s cartoonish rendition from the 1989 version to shame. Ledger’s Clown Prince isn’t a one-dimensional goofball who listens to bad 80s music while parading around a museum – he’s a diehard anarchist who’s both smart and incredibly dangerous. Dressed like a bum with dirty green hair, smeared-on white and red makeup, and a hand-me-down purple suit, the Joker truly is the wild card he’s supposed to be. One minute he could be playfully entertaining his guests with one of many versions of how he received the smile-like scars on his face (when in reality, he probably just did it himself), and the next, he’s a nightmarish psychopath with the laugh of a rabid hyena.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight

Inception” (2010)
At this point in his career, Nolan is on a roll. David Medsker makes the point with his review:

It is officially time to stop the conversation about Christopher Nolan, one of the greatest filmmakers of the last ten years, and begin discussing Christopher Nolan, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. The weakest film he’s made since his backwards-spooling 2000 breakthrough “Memento” is his 2002 remake of the Norwegian thriller “Insomnia,” and that movie is still very good. His latest movie, “Inception,” is a veritable embarrassment of riches. The visuals are stunning, the performances are refreshingly low-key, and the story is one of the most enjoyable mind trips you’ll ever take. You have to love a movie that dares people to think big.

Inception

The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)
From David Medsker’s review:

That gale-force wind blowing outside your window is merely Christopher Nolan letting out a sigh of relief now that he’s officially finished with the “Batman” franchise. He has dealt with – and exceeded – unreasonable expectations from the moment he signed on to direct 2005’s “Batman Begins,” so you have to think that he is ecstatic to be moving on. Indeed, it appears that Nolan himself knew when he began work on “The Dark Knight Rises” that there was no way that he could one-up the relentless thrillfest that is “The Dark Knight,” so this time, he didn’t even try; instead, he chose to make a Big Statement about society as a whole, and shoehorned Bruce Wayne and friends into it. He may have stuck the landing – and he did – but it comes at the end of a very, very long routine. By the time it arrives, the audience is exhausted from watching. And not in a good way, like it was at the end of “The Dark Knight.”

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)
From our movie critic David Medsker:

This is both an impossibly dense movie, and a deceptively simple one. The quantum physics talk and the hypotheses regarding time and space turn out to be a bit of a red herring. The true essence of “Interstellar” is about love, and Anne Hathaway’s character sums it up perfectly: time can contract and expand, but it can’t go backwards. In a nutshell, Nolan spent $165 million and 169 minutes telling us to seize the day with our loved ones. That’s a great message, and he pulls a number of incredible technical achievements in the process, but with “Interstellar,” Nolan has fallen into a trap that has caught many before him: the pitfalls of autonomy.

Intersteller

Dunkirk” (2017)
Some of us expected so much more from this film. It’s beautifully shot, but it never really captures the context of the moment. Others liked it more. From our review by David Medsker: “This is an intense, largely joyless film. It’s positively gorgeous as war movies go, but joyless just the same, with Hanz Zimmer’s unsettling score exacerbating the feeling of hopelessness of the Allies’ predicament. The most surprising thing about “Dunkirk” is how little chatter there is; for the first 15 minutes or so, there are maybe a dozen lines of dialogue, all of them brief and to the point.”

Dunkirk

Tenet” (2020)
Unfortunately, with “Tenet” we have another visually impressive film that falls a bit flat. Jason Zingale explains that this is “easily one of Nolan’s weakest films to date, due in large part to its confusing, incoherent story and underdeveloped characters.”

Oppenheimer” (2023)
“Oppenheimer” is easily one of the best movies of the year so far according to Matt Dean.

Oppenheimer movie