Director Picks: Top 5 Movies by Christopher Nolan

Written by Hana Elniwairi November 26, 2012

Christopher Nolan has to be one of my favourite contemporary directors, if not the favourite. From his storytelling style, playing with chronology and all, to the fact that very rarely does he ever have one distinct hero, everything about Nolan’s directorial vision and style is compelling. If you’re like me, and you like to indulge in contemplating all the shades of grey that surround life, and to explore the darkness of our nature, then you’ve probably enjoyed some of the movies on this list.

5. Following (1998)

“Following” gets a place in this list because it was Christopher Nolan’s very first feature film, shot on his own budget. Nolan pretty much did all the work for this film, except for actually acting in it. It tells the story of a young writer who takes to following strangers in search of inspiration for his writing. This habit of his takes a dangerous turn when the man gets involved with burglars and gangsters. The film features many of the distinct staples of Nolan’s style, such as a non-linear narrative, dark, ambiguous characters, and a generally negative view of the world. While it might not be his finest work, Nolan’s “Following” is notable because of the degree of success it received, considering the limited resources he had during production.

4. Memento (2000)

If you ever want a movie to make you scratch your head repeatedly as you attempt to figure everything out, watch “Memento”. In fact, I’d be surprised if many of you haven’t watched “Memento” yet, as it is one of those films that has become a part of pop culture. As characteristic of Nolan’s films in general, the story is told in a non-linear format, where you get the ending at the first scene, and you desperately try to put together everything else. Numerous times as I was watching this movie, I thought I had it figured out, only to be thwarted by Nolan’s storytelling genius. One of my favourite things about this film is that the plot doesn’t revolve completely around the mental disorder it is based on. There is so much more to the film, and while the amnesia aspect of it is important, it is not the only contributor to the plot.

3. The Prestige (2006)

“The Prestige” tells the story of two rivalling magicians (not wizards) whose obsession with their crafts escalates to the point of destroying both of their lives. The movie gives a fascinating look into the lives of these men and the rivalry between them, which, while it was dramatized in Nolan’s movie, is something that apparently happens in real life between magicians. Of course, they don’t go trying to kill each other, but we have Nolan to thank for bringing a destructive desire to these magicians.

2. Inception (2010)

Yet another one of Nolan’s films that has been ingrained in pop culture, “Inception” was a movie many were excited about when it came out. “Inception” almost made #1 on this list because your mind has not been properly blown until you’ve watched it. Plus, for anyone with interests in psychology and the concept of reality in general, the idea of a movie about a dream within a dream is compelling. Additionally, “Inception” has won many awards, including the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, which were fantastic. Also, that perfect cast; you can’t get any better!

1. The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005 – 2012)

The fight for the #1 spot between “Inception” the Dark Knight Trilogy was won by the latter based on my sheer love of Batman and everything to do with the character. What Nolan brought to this franchise was a sense of serious darkness, and a story that forces you to question the nature of morality. Nolan made you take Batman seriously; he was not just a silly superhero. You questioned him, the world he lives in, and by extension, the world you lived in. Now maybe I’m reading too much into Nolan’s films, but you’ll have to forgive me, I nearly worship Batman. For anyone who cares about this vigilante as much as I do, the Dark Knight trilogy is one of the greatest gifts from Nolan.

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About Hana Elniwairi

Hana is a student at UWO, studying Psychology and Creative Writing. She enjoys watching movies and TV, no matter how much she complains about them or claims otherwise.

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