5. Memento (2000)
After creating some indie buzz with Following in 1998, Nolan leapt to another level with his much superior intellectual and cinematic offering Memento released in 2000. Starring Guy Pearce as a man with short term memory loss who must work from clues tattooed onto his body to solve a crime, Memento felt like an all-new debut for Nolan, one that could rival that of Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, and while some aspects of the film have dated a little and tonally it isn’t quite as well considered as it once was, this picture remains vital viewing as regards Nolan’s delectably pretentious sensibilities and is still a monumental thriller all these years later in its own right.
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4. Inception (2010)
Arguably the biggest hit of Nolan’s career, and certainly one of the director’s two most instantly recognisable works, Inception in many ways rewrote what it took for an original film to make a billion dollars in the contemporary marketplace, this mind-altering, thought-provoking ensemble thriller being both a throwback to the large budget studio originals of decades past and a vision of an almost derelict original blockbuster future simultaneously, its mix of spectacular visual effects, unique concept and marketable cast making for one of the most beloved mainstream releases of the century and one of Nolan’s most characteristic offerings to date.
3. Dunkirk (2017)
Arguably the most characteristic movie in Christopher Nolan’s ever-growing repertoire, World War II thriller Dunkirk was a unique combination of the time-bending philosophical undertakings of the likes of Memento and Inception with more classic cinematic architecture perhaps best illustrated by Stanley Kubrick, this story told across three different timelines being perhaps the first post-modern war movie Hollywood would produce, paving the way for the Oscar-winning 1917 and earning Nolan a new crowd of older filmgoers while continuing to please his swathes of converts.