BySuperhero Villian, writer at
Superhero Villian

There is no doubt that both Christopher and Johnathan Nolan will go down in history books as one of the greats. Their intelligent concepts, wonderful twists and turns, dark and heart-wrenching style of writing contribute to an excellent and thought-provoking story-telling. I have become a big fan of both of them and I find their work to be very consistent which is something few directors/writers are having these days. With that said, I have ranked the 9 Nolan films so far from "I enjoyed it" to "I really enjoyed it". I want to stress how I find ALL their movies nothing short of excellent as I believe they will go down as timeless classics. Also to note, I understand some of the movies Christopher Nolan has directed and produced all the movies, but I have Johnathan here because he has written the the stories of more than half of these movies. Enjoy, and tell me what you think below.

9. Insomnia (2002)

insomnia is an American crime themed psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. It tells the story of two Los Angeles homicide detectives investigating a murder in an Alaskan town.

IMDb: 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Metacritic: 78%

What I think:

I find this movie, compared to the others, did not have as much a sense of desperation, especially considering this is a crime film. Also, there was no mystery as to who the killer was, it was already hinted heavily in the beginning of the movie. Other than that however, the interaction between Al Pacino's character and that of Robin Williams was excellent. The pacing of the story was perfect, there was no rush towards the climax and the desperation did kick in towards the end. It's quite enjoyable if you have patience.

8. Following (1998)

Following is a British neo-noir drama thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It tells the story of a young man who follows strangers around the streets of London and is drawn into a criminal underworld when he fails to keep his distance.

IMDb: 7.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

Metacritic: 60%

What I think:

This movie is a bit like Insomnia in terms of the tone and pacing of the film except it's really mysterious. You do understand what the movie is about and what the characters are doing, but their intentions are weird to the point where you have to question if they have ulterior motives. This was my first neo-noir film so I was quite surprised at how much I liked this style. Plus this was Nolan's debut movie and he had written it himself so kudos to that.

7. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises is a British-American epic superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan, and the story with David S. Goyer... The film introduces Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a sly, morally ambiguous cat burglar, and Bane (Tom Hardy), a revolutionary bent on destroying Gotham City who forces an older Bruce Wayne to come out of retirement and become Batman again.

IMDb: 8.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%

Metacritic: 78%

What I think:

Nolan is known for making things realistic and gritty and he seemed to achieve that with most of the movie, but the last hour in many people's opinion just suffered from repetitiveness and chaos. Nolan is also known to have plot-twists that dramatically affect the story, but with Bane being Talia Al-Ghul's accomplice it did not do much justice to Bane, it in fact made him weak and out of depth. However, despite these flaws, I did find the movie enjoyable and a needed wrap-up of the trilogy.

6. Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins is a 2005 epic superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan...The film reboots the Batman film series, telling the origin story of the character from Bruce Wayne's initial fear of bats, the death of his parents, his journey to become Batman, and his fight against Ra's al Ghul's plot to destroy Gotham City.

IMDb: 8.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

Metacritic: 70%

What I think:

One of the top origin stories of all time. Nolan's idea to base this Batman reboot on realism and humanity paved the way to make a true gritty Batman movie. Everything from the music, the training scenes, Gotham City, flashbacks, and the villain plot-twist was excellent. I read somewhere the story had a fear theme to it and I completely agree. From Scarecrow's toxins embodying and manifesting fear, to the bats young Bruce encountered, to him becoming Batman and doing what he needed, it all had a fear driven motive behind it. I ranked this movie above The Dark Knight because it gave us fans something new, while the other was below expectations and did not surpass its predecessors. Batman Begins gave rise to a whole new genre of superhero films.

5. Inception (2010)

Inception is a 2010 science fiction heist thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan...DiCaprio plays a professional thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets. He is offered a chance to have his criminal history erased as payment for a task considered to be impossible: "inception", the implantation of another person's idea into a target's subconscious.

IMDb: 8.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Metacritic: 74%

What I think:

Most people say this film is overrated, and I agree to a degree. I think the fact that this film is unlike anything we have seen before is the reason why people rate it highly. The concept is beautiful, this was something Christopher Nolan was brainstorming about since Memento. He took years to perfect the story and he also directed and produced the movie, that's a feat. However, I find this movie's key plot holes (the kick and waking up) and its overwhelming ideas jam-packed in 148 minutes kept it from attaining absolute greatness.

4. The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige is a mystery drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, from a screenplay adapted by Nolan and his brother Jonathan from Christopher Priest's 1995 World Fantasy Award-winning novel of the same name. The story follows Robert Angier and Alfred Borden, rival stage magicians in London at the end of the 19th century. Obsessed with creating the best stage illusion, they engage in competitive one-upmanship with tragic results.

IMDb: 8.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%

Metacritic: 66%

What I think:

I cannot stress how devilishly good this movie is. I loved every minute of it and I was hooked on the screen the entire time. The Prestige was a compilation of twists and turns you never saw coming, but those are nothing compared to the ending. Even from the beginning when Michael Caine's character opened up by saying, "Are you watching closely?" to a scene of dozens of magician hats lying on the ground, you knew you were in for a mind raping movie. Hugh Jackman plays the wonderful asshole and Christian Bale plays the heartful protagonist to root for. I would say the only thing that might have bugged me is the not knowing whether a scene was a flashback or the present, that was something you had to keep up with, but even from that confusion it helped give a sense of mystery to delight in.

3. The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight is a epic superhero film directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan...The film introduces the character of Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Gotham's newly elected District Attorney and the consort of Bruce Wayne's childhood friend Rachel Dawes who joins Batman and the police in combating the new rising threat of a criminal mastermind known as "The Joker" (Heath Ledger).

IMDb: 9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Metacritic: 82%

What I think:

My mom doesn't like movies at all, but I asked her to watch The Dark Knight with me and it is the only movie she will ever re-watch. She absolutely loved the Joker and was in fact rooting for him. But aside from the wonderful Joker, I believe this was spectacular because there was a perfect balance to everything. You finally get to see what Bruce's action's reap, you have a sense of desperation with Gotham's citizens which make them the antagonists of the Batman, you see things behind the Joker's perspective as well and what it does so well is that it defines Batman and makes him a better character. The special effects were just that, special and I think what Nolan did so well was adding these instances where you thought everything was coming to close but it was part of a bigger plan.

2. Interstellar (2014)

IMDb: 8.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Metacritic: 74%

What I think:

I strongly believe Rotten Tomatoes had it all wrong on this one. This was one the best 169 minutes of my life, and that's an understatement. I laughed a little, shed some tears, gaped plenty times, and said 'Holy Sh*t' a dozen times or so. By this time, I was already antiquated with Nolan's major plot-twists so I had my eyes wide open from the beginning of the movie (oh and when I mean Nolan, I mean Johnathan Nolan since he was the one who worked on the script for four years). However, no matter what I had my eyes on, I could never be ready for that particular twist in the end. It was as if the whole movie had these subliminal scenes that you thought were just there for effect but in actuality were part of a bigger picture. Nolan wonderfully put these random sequence of events into a beautiful symphony. In addition, the extent of the scientific applications were nigh-infinite. Everything from the wormholes, time-delineations based on gravity, the black holes, and future humans was a masterpiece. This movie is one of my all time favorites and I actually enjoyed the movie more than my number one listed, but Interstellar is second only because the number one is unlike anything.

1. Memento (2000)

Memento is an American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story "Memento Mori". Memento is presented as two different sequences of scenes interspersed during the film: a series in black-and-white that is shown chronologically, and a series of color sequences shown in reverse order (simulating in the audience the mental state of the protagonist, who suffers from a anterograde amnesia). The two sequences "meet" at the end of the film, producing one complete and cohesive narrative.

IMDb: 8.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Metacritic: 80%

What I think:

Credit to Johnathan Nolan for the wonderful story, and credit to Christopher Nolan for a fantastic directing. This is a psychedelic, mind-rape movie at its finest. I watched the movie twice just to get a gist of what I might have missed/misunderstood. The wonderful overlays of flashback to flash-forwards made you question not only the character's perception, but also your own, and I think that's what made it a great story. It had the sense of reeling in the audience by making you anticipate what would happen next, except you never could! It was that complex and wonderful. Plus, it was one of the first movies to truly have a non-linear plot which paved the way for its success. What set the deal for me were two things; the ending, of course, and the 'Remember Sammy Jenkins' plot-twist, that's something I did not see coming. I think, however, if the movie was linear, it wouldn't have been as quite enjoyable as it was. It's the confusion and mystery that enhances the viewing experience.

Many medical experts have cited Memento as one of the most realistic and accurate depictions of anterograde amnesia in any motion picture. Caltech neuroscientist Christof Koch called Memento "the most accurate portrayal of the different memory systems in the popular media," while physician Esther M. Sternberg, Director of the Integrative Neural Immune Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, identified the film as "close to a perfect exploration of the neurobiology of memory."


What do you think? Which Nolan movie deserves the number one spot?


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