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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Every Christopher Nolan film ranked: Inception, The Dark Knight, Memento and more

Before you watch Tenet, here is a comprehensive ranking of all the Christopher Nolan movies.

Written by Kshitij Rawat | New Delhi | Updated: December 5, 2020 9:03:45 am
best christopher nolan movies, tenet, dark knight, dunkirk, interstellarHere are the best Christopher Nolan movies. (Photo: Warner Bros)

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has finally hit Indian screens. The much-awaited film released earlier in other markets, including its domestic market North America, and we did not get to see it since theatres in our country were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tenet involves a concept called inversion, which both Nolan and the actors have said in interviews is not time-travel. In fact, it is a sort of communication with the future.

John David Washington’s lead character called just The Protagonist is tasked with saving the world from World War III, and it is not Armageddon the world is facing, the promos say, but something worse.

Before you watch this action-thriller, here is a ranking of all the Nolan movies.

10. Following

Christopher Nolan’s 1998 debut feature was a British film called The Following, made on a shoe-string budget of $6,000. The production values apart, it was a great exploration of a complex character and had dominant themes of time and identity.

9. The Dark Knight Rises

The 2012 conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises brought the most terrifying villain Bane (Tom Hardy) before a rusty Batman. The film explored what happens when you break Batman, metaphorically and physically. The Dark Knight Rises, with all its flaws, was a pretty satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy.

8. Insomnia

Insomnia was Nolan’s 2002 remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name. With some great performances by actors like Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank, the film was a gripping noir drama.

guy pearce, christopher nolan, memento Guy Pearce in a still from Christopher Nolan’s Memento. (Photo: Newmarket)

7. Memento

Inspiration for Aamir Khan’s Ghajini (which was a pale, watered-down imitation), Memento was a great achievement for the then 30-year-old filmmaker still trying to make his place in the film industry. It was this film that established Christopher Nolan. With Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss in the lead roles, the film was widely praised for its themes of memory and self-deception.

6. Dunkirk

A war film made by Nolan and he did not delve deep into the usual war movie tropes like excessive violence, non-stop machine-gun fire, and character depths. Instead, he chose the Dunkirk evacuation itself as his main protagonist, and characters were simply minor players making a big whole. The film also had some of the best cinematography in any war movie. Dunkirk is a high-quality war movie.

christopher nolan's batman begins A poster of Batman Begins. (Photo: Warner Bros)

5. Batman Begins

The film which began easily the greatest superhero trilogy, Batman Begins centred upon the theme of fear. With Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne struggling to overcome his childhood fear of bats to Cilian Murphy’s Scarecrow using drugs to invoke the deepest fears of people who were not keen on his plans, Batman Begins was all about recognising your inner demons and then overcoming it. It also marked the grand reentry of the Caped Crusader whose previous big-screen appearances had been disastrous.

4. Inception

Inception was a film that was mind-bogglingly complex with its time-jumps, unreliable protagonist and, well, dreams. Not just dreams, sharing of dreams. The idea of stealing other people’s ideas from their minds and also planting foreign ideas into their minds and translating it to cinema was a great feat. The high concept ideas were well-complemented by Hanz Zimmer’s beautiful score.

3. Interstellar

Interstellar was the first time Nolan went into outer space. With his tight hold on the narrative and visual aspects of the film, Nolan was able to create a film that was set in the outer reaches of our solar system and even parallel worlds, but essentially, it was centred on the genuinely heartfelt relationship between a father and his daughter.

2. The Prestige

With actors like Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman playing rival magicians in the film, The Prestige was a thrill ride. Nolan’s obsession with twists at the end of his movies may have begun with this film.

1. The Dark Knight

The uncrowned queen of all superhero movies, The Dark Knight was released in 2008 and is yet to be bettered. What was unique about it was that although it was a superhero movie, it did not have large scale battles. Its antagonist was a great mind (no matter how sick and twisted), and not a great fighter. The Joker played by late actor Heath Ledger was, as he himself put it, an agent of chaos. Pure and simple. The Joker was a man impossible to understand. He wanted Batman to kill him? Why? Because he wanted Batman to break his rule: that he will not kill anybody. “Madness, as you know, is like gravity, all it takes is a little push.”

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