The Top Five Christopher Nolan Directed Movies

One of the most coveted directors in the last five years has got to be Christopher Nolan.   I mean The Dark Night pretty much sealed the deal but a nice follow up with Inception solidified Nolan as being one of the elite.   And now that The Dark Night Rises is getting hyped (as it should be), and Nolan has reached the ten directed film mark, it’s time to start doing some rankings.

I generally put together lists without assigning a ranking but I figured with five it wouldn’t be that tough.   While you may not agree with some of these, I look forward to the comments.

Here are what I consider to be Christopher Nolan’s top five movies….

5. Batman Begins

I love the style of this movie.  I love the way it moved.  I loved the acting.   I even loved the story.   Nolan did a fantastic job of bringing back the Batman franchise to a respectable level and he introduced Christian Bale as a kick ass action hero.   But there was one thing I found lacking in this movie.   Didn’t it feel like it kind of dragged on a bit?  I mean yeah there was action but there was a lack of “flow” if you will.   As in sitting down and watching this whole movie through felt somewhat boring.  Granted it was still a good film, it just didn’t compare to The Dark Knight where I felt every single moment was worth watching.

4. Inception

Hmmm.  Inception is a tough one.   It was a cool movie.  No question about it.  But I think it dove too far into complexity for complexity’s sake.   Everyone was wondering what in the hell that movie meant after seeing it.  And while I get that might have been part of the intended focus, it was still pretty annoying that there wasn’t a more straight up plot.  How many levels of consciousness do we need????  I think South Park did an incredibly parody of the movie.

  • Dont be a Goof

    This list seems unnecessary as his only other movies are Following and Insomnia. Why didn’t you just include them?

  • Ian

    Christopher Nolan is probably my favorite director and the Prestige is probably my favorite movie. Tough to pick between the too but I’m glad you at least had a hard time deciding. Every time I watch the prestige again I pick up something new. I love how Nolan leaves it to the viewer to decide what’s really going on the whole time. You can watch the Prestige believing the magic is real (and Christian Bale ‘wins’) or you can watch it believing that they’re just great performers (so Hugh Jackman ‘wins’).

    I feel the same about Memento and Inception, too…although I haven’t watched them nearly as much as I have the Prestige.

  • looka

    Batman Begins was a very good intro movie, but it did feel a bit long, not boring, just long..
    Dark Knight deserves a #1 spot in many many ways, not just on this list..except for Maggie, that woman is just fucking ugly and should not be in any more movies..ever..

  • Ian

    *two…rookie mistake.

  • Cheryl

    I love the Prestige because it didn’t dumb anything down. I’ve seen it a few times and I always think I ‘get’ it but by the end I don’t =)
    The cats and the hats…gets me everytime!

  • mike

    I mostly agree with your rankings. For me, Batman Begins is a good movie, it just suffers from random dumb moments (dark knight also has these to a lesser extent). Most of the movie tries for a dark and serious tone, but then out of nowhere some cop spouts some stupid line. I get that they’re action movies and comic book movies, but when the rest of the movie is so serious, these things can be jarring.

    Also, while I loved Inception the first time I saw it, the more I watched it, I realized almost every single line of dialogue is exposition. I understand that the plot was a little complicated (especially for general audiences), but it wasn’t that hard to understand, right? That’s part of the reason I could never understand the people who thought that Inception was too confusing. The movie goes out of its way to constantly tell you what’s going on! How can you not follow it!?

    ps- I agree with the other commenter- Why not just include his other two movies?

  • It was kinda predictable. If this was mine list, Prestige would have been on the first place.

  • Steve

    My only issue with the Bat-Bale movies is Bales “Batman Voice”… it’s friggin’ stupid; sounds like a preteen trying to sound scary or immitate a pro wrestler… as one of the “Ammended Scripts” versions put it “It doesn’t sound menacing, it sounds like he’s gargling Michael Keaton’s balls…”

    And the most confusing thing about Inception is how many people think it’s so confusing or deep… I think the movie does a little too much hand holding through the previously mentioned expository dialogue (forgivable, since it was trying to establsih it’s own rules and tell a story at the same time without coming off like a tech manual), and while a highly entertaining film was pretty much a linear tale with an ending that is more “Outer Limits send up” than “baffling, discussion-worhty cinema.” Great flick, but come on, people…

  • steve-0

    Pretty good list. Minor quip though, Nolan hasn’t directed ten films yet like you say, at least feature films.

    If you’re going off of the list from IMDb, you’ll see that two of these credits are actually short films, and they’re actually the same film counted twice. Doodlebug, although an interesting concept, is the same quality of film that you would find coming from any film student trying to find his own unique style and voice. Clocking in at three minutes, it hardly deserves to be counted as a true directorial effort. Check it out on youtube if you like…

    So sorry to be nit-picky, but TDKR puts Nolan in at eight (brilliant) films. 🙂

  • MurderBot

    The more I think about how wrong Anne Hathaway feels as Catwoman, the more I think about how she would of been much better than both Katie or Maggie as Rachel Dawes. Ah well, c’est la vie!

    I think I’d have to put Memento as my no.1, as much as I love the rest I went in to each knowing it was a Chris Nolan movie so my expectations were high, but with Memento I remember going in expecting some average man-on-the-run type flick and being completely knocked for six. That movie was a fucking inspiration!

  • Steve

    This is the part where I’d normally list all the things wrong about Dark Knight and why it’s the most overrated comic movie ever, but I already know if I point things out, I’ll just be labelled a nitpicker, or get the apologists to say “It’s only a comic book movie”, which of course, contradicts their sentiments about how its supposed to be a serious film.

    So, instead I’ll literally take the path of least resistance and say that Memento, The Prestige, and Inception are 3 of the best films made in the last 11 years (or at least, 3 of my favorites), and as for Batman I’ll stick to the first Keaton film. Though IMO the animated series is probably the best “balance” between serious and camp. As far as how I like my Batman and the universe he lives in anyway.

  • JF

    Memento completely blowed my mind away!
    It’s to mother of all movie for me and it’s the reason I watch so much of them today. Like a drug, I’m trying to get that initial rush once again. Inception came close, but no movie as the same constant tension, mysterie and confusion troughout then Memento. Brillant! Didn’t even knew Nolan at this time…

  • chelsea

    memento is so over-rated and inception wasn’t complex for complexity’s sake. memento was just told backwards, that is it. not a big deal, not that ingenious.

    i just get annoyed when people praise memento and then say inception wasn’t as good.

  • Rosstopher

    At the end of Inception, the fact that Cobb doesn’t look back to see if the top is spinning is what the movie was trying to get across. He has moved on from trying to make sure everything is real and to just take life for what it is.

  • I didn’t think Inception was ambiguous at all, and find it really odd when people say they “didn’t get it”.

  • Diva D

    People need to lay off Maggie Gyllenhaal’s looks, which in all honesty aren’t even unpleasant, let alone exceptionally bad.

    I also get a little sad when I read people saying that “Batman Begins” is boring or rendered irrelevant by “The Dark Knight.” “Batman Begins” is such a friggin’ cool movie, at least for me. It’s a real slow-burn kind of superhero story – almost as much a crime movie as “The Dark Knight” (which took inspiration from Michael Mann’s “Heat” and shows it).

    And this is turning into a complaint-only comment, but this is not good writing: “But it’s not as if it only stops at Ledger’s performance as the joker [sic]. It was just an incredibly well made film with zero spots the viewer wasn’t totally into. Great storytelling. The whole Harvey Dent into two face [sic] was brilliant.” And doesn’t nearly tap into the brilliance that drives this movie. I notice a lot of unsupported claims in your posts on the whole, which makes for frustrating reading for me.

    All that said, I gotta give props for having “Inception” as low as it is, as I think it’s fun structurally and has a lot of cool imagery/action, but lacks a lot of the soul that keeps bringing me back to Nolan’s other movies (the downward spirals in “The Prestige,” the self-delusion in “Memento,” etc). “The Prestige,” in particular, is an underrated masterpiece.

  • BobaFett

    IMO, #1 has to be Memento. First of all, it works as a “backwards” movie, but it ALSO works as a forwards movie.

    I did an experiment with a friend prior to TDK coming out, who had never heard of it. I showed her the movie forwards and she enjoyed it (so did I). Then I showed her it backwards and her MIND WAS BLOWN.

  • Deke

    Wow, some hate for Maggie on here that I wasn’t expecting. While I’m not a fan of switching acters/actresses in sequels, Kate Holmes was easily the weakest link in Batman Begins (except maybe the small part by the little rat face that plays Joffrey in Game of Thrones). Maggie Gyllenhaal is an exponentially better actress and IMO sexy in her own way. If you disagree, a viewing of Secretary and/or Stranger Than Fiction is needed ASAP.

  • Gladiador

    Memento is not just a backwards movie, it is a half-backward/half-forward movie (many people seem to forget that 🙂

    Also, people don’t tend to give Following the credit it deserves. It is an amazing movie, surely better than begins, and even arguably better than inception.

    Nolan is one of my favs too, along with Aronofsky. Its great to watch two directors careers since their beginings (actually, second movies, but you get my drift) and see they evolve into the top directors of their generation. I still remember watching both memento and requiem and them blowing my mind in the early 2000s, and the expectation about these guys’ new movies (as well as their amazing black and white directing debut).

  • Rick B

    Honestly, without heath ledger theres almost no reason to watch TDK. Sidestepping Maggie (yes, great in ‘Stranger than’ & others, but her timbre is all wrong for this film), the Harvey dent character didn’t bring me in. Bale, Cain, & Oldman still did a good job, but the story outside of the joker was a non-starter. Also, Gotham was totally different. The city is a huge character in the first movie, its darkness & its depravity. The train system his dad built was everywhere. When we see the skyline in TDK, where the hell did it go? He didn’t blow the whole thing up. It takes massive amounts of time to tear down or repair. To me theres a lot of continuity discrepancies from movie to movie. Same way I hate (despise) the SW prequels because its like Lucas forgets the look & feel of the original trilogy. TDK Good? Yes. No. 1? No way. Prestige, Begins, Inception, TDK, & Memento.

  • severin

    I dont get the maggie gyllenhall thing. She’s fucking sexy as. when she smiles she’s just…fuck. i know beauty’s in the eye of the beholder and all that junk but can someone please explain to me where the ugliness is because i cannot see it, she is far more beautuful than (although doesnt look as conventional as) more “mainstream” actresses. she’s in my top 5 is what im saying and im trying to work out what other people are seeing that im not.