Christopher Nolan Films Ranked

7. The Prestige (2006)

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman star as rival magicians seeking to outperform one another in Christopher Nolan’s mid-2000s follow-up to Batman Begins that features one of the greatest ensembles of the filmmaker’s career. Here, Nolan returns to the themes of morality and responsibility that underpinned his earlier work on Insomnia, directly confronting the magic contained within his own films (particularly Memento) to present arguably the most satisfying of his narrative twists.

Pushing on from Batman Begins, the director established himself as a go-to Hollywood name with The Prestige, confirming himself as an “every movie a hit” director with his fifth critical success from five releases, his pulsating thriller being one of those memorable cinema experiences that would come to define the filmmaker’s reputation for offering unique and spectacular reasons to pay to see his work on the big screen.

While The Prestige is not as philosophical as some of the filmmaker’s later work, it is certainly an intelligent crowd-pleaser that could satisfactorily top many a list of great films; an enthralling cinema experience.

6. Memento (2000)

After creating some buzz on the festival circuit 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 wakes each day to find clues to a crime tattooed on his body, Memento was almost an all-new debut for Christopher Nolan.

Exploring themes of truth and justice, and accurately capturing Generation X’s distrust of authority in his own off-kilter and borderline arthouse manner, Christopher Nolan was able to establish so many of his filmmaking traits in this early film. Memento centres on a protagonist who doesn’t belong, explores his individual responsibility, and plays with its presentation of time – the entire film is about a man without a past (due to his short term memory loss).

Memento was a huge introduction – one that rivalled many of the great filmmakers to burst into the mainstream in this era (Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson) – and is still a monumental thriller all these years later.

5. Inception (2010)

After finding mega success with The Dark Knight in 2008, Christopher Nolan followed-up his immaculate record of hits with arguably the biggest box office achievement of his career: an $800million take on an original blockbuster movie in the 21st century. Telling another typically lofty story – this time about a group attempting to infiltrate the mind of a billionaire in order to earn the lead protagonist’s freedom – Inception is among Nolan’s most star-studded and famous offerings.

Inception in many ways rewrote what it takes for an original film to become a year-topping release 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.

Inception brought Nolan’s lofty goals and inherently unique directorial style to the attention of the studios that had funded his previous efforts, Nolan becoming one of the most powerful and shackleless directors in all of Hollywood for the next decade-plus.

Recommended for you: The Trickling Influence of ‘Inception’

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