Welcome back to the weekly Top 10 list. Each week we come up with a topic, go create our separate lists, and then come together to create a top 10 consensus. This week we decided to countdown the God of cinema according to the internet, Christopher Nolan. We are ranking all his films from one to ten just in time for Tenet. Get ready for some hot takes!
Christopher Nolan’s most successful film from an award’s perspective is our dead last film on this list in Dunkirk. If you have been keeping up with us, you’ll know that this website does not like Dunkirk at all. Yeah, the technical aspects are impressive, but there is no character in it whatsoever. Without character, there is no reason for me to care whether these soldiers get out alive or not which is a shame to say. I don’t care how realistic this film is to war, this is a movie and if it is not entertaining, it is not a good movie.
In at number nine we have the debut for Christopher Nolan in Following. This film gave us a glimpse into how his mind works in film and what he can bring to the screen. His films are, in a word, complex, and this was the one that started it all. It is not talked about much but when you have a filmmaker as profound as Nolan, it is always interesting to see where he started.
In only his third film, Christopher Nolan was able to cast Al Pacino and Hilary Swank for his psychological crime thriller Insomnia. This film is constantly thinking and making you think with its big thoughts. Having a town that never has darkness eventually would wear on you and this film captures that beautifully with wonderful acting on top of that. Underrated.
I remember when Interstellar was announced as Nolan’s first film since Batman and he had a lot planned for it. I think that is a good way to sum up this film. One with ambitions so large it doesn’t quite get there. Nolan’s films are very cold and standoffish, they don’t let you in. So when he tried to do a film about how love can stretch across space and time, it felt like it wasn’t done right. He needed a little more to get that message across. This is a beautiful film to look at no doubt, just wish it came together better.
6. Batman Begins
The first of three Batman films comes in at number six with Batman Begins. This film is the one that really put Nolan on the map as a director to look out for where he saved the Batman franchise from being just a goofy comic book film designed to sell toys. He grounded the superhero genre and the genre hasn’t been the same since. I know many people who put this film as the best in the trilogy, but taste varies.
5. The Dark Knight Rises
Speaking of taste, we probably have Nolan’s most strange attempt at a film in The Dark Knight Rises. This film is super entertaining but is also a giant mess. Where to start with the plot holes conveniences? It is insane how many liberties are taken, but Tom Hardy as Bane became one of the best things in pop culture in recent memory. I love the story and everything with the setup, it just felt like Nolan didn’t have his heart in it after The Dark Knight and it shows.
To this day Memento remains the film that people seem to universally enjoy the most from Nolan’s filmography. It isn’t anyone’s absolute favorite, but nobody seems to dislike it either. Short-term memory is a condition ripe for storytelling and Nolan took full advantage of that by having someone with that condition try and solve his wife’s murder. The agony of constantly getting somewhere but not remembering well is terrible and this film exposes that deeply.
3. The Prestige
Now if we want to talk about underrated, The Prestige is the definition of that for Nolan. He followed up Batman Begins with a period piece revolving around competing magicians. The desire to be the best and do whatever it takes to get there is a very real feeling. This film shows the negative effects of that with a tragic ending and twist that you never see coming. Christian Bale and Nolan really work well together.
Just missing out on the top spot is one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking films ever made in Inception. Dreams are something we still don’t fully understand, but this film invited us into that world and made us wonder just how deep things can go. He assembled an all-star cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio who makes himself just vulnerable enough to make us care, despite his mistakes. The ending is still debated today and for a film to have that relevance still shows its staying power.
1. The Dark Knight
Finally, our number one film is one that also appeared on our last list in The Dark Knight. What more is there to say about this film that hasn’t been said? From the Nolan perspective, this will always be his crowning achievement. He made a comic book movie that is considered by many to be the best ever. It also was so good that it forced the Academy Awards to adjust their rules to make room for films like this to get recognition. People go nuts for this film, and it is what made people love Christopher Nolan as much as they do.
I have to say, I think I was rather nice there all things considered. I do not love Christopher Nolan like everyone else seems to, but I respect everything he has done for cinema and how much he loves film. His films are events you cannot miss. How would you rank his filmography? Let us know below and we will see you next time with another list!