- Hollywood Reporter
One of the most celebrated mainstream directors working today, Christopher Nolan is back on our screens this year with Dunkirk. Hugely ambitious with his signature attention to detail, it already has critics calling it an Oscar favorite.
Let’s take a look back on Nolan’s filmography for the best moments that solidified him as a master storyteller. Spoilers throughout!
Memento: The Killer
In Memento, Leonard, who suffers from anterograde amnesia, mercilessly hunts his wife’s killer. At the film’s climax (which chronologically happens at the beginning of the story) his friend Teddy tells him the truth: he had murdered the killer years ago. But he keeps forgetting and never stops his search, trapped in an endless cycle of revenge. It’s a head-spinning twist and one that demands multiple viewings.
Prestige: Meeting Tesla
Robert Angier (played by Hugh Jackman) travels to America to meet legendary inventor Nikola Tesla. Angier asks him to build one of his machines in order to perform a daring magic trick. While it’s nice to see the under-appreciated Tesla represented on the big screen, the real pleasure is seeing him played by none other than musical genius David Bowie. This was Bowie’s first role since his memorable cameo in Zoolander.
- The Independent
Prestige: The Reveal
The central mystery of the film, the one that drove Angier mad, was how his rival Borden managed to pull off his famous The Transporting Man trick. Angier eventually comes up with his own way to replicate and improve upon it. But this fantastic trick has a dark underbelly. Every time it’s performed, Angier uses a clone of himself created by Tesla’s machine. That clone is then drowned in a tank of water. By the time Borden stumbles upon this secret, there are rows and rows of rotting Angier duplicates.
- Mariel Calloway
Batman Begins: The Murder of the Waynes
The origin of Batman is so well-known at this point it should have its own star on the Walk of Fame. With something so been-there-done-that, a filmmaker may be tempted to skip it entirely. However, Nolan took a risk by choosing to flesh out the story of young Bruce Wayne and his parents. This paid off as we see the tragedy of their deaths and the struggle of Bruce and Alfred to move on.
Batman Begins: Meet Scarecrow
Fear is the major theme of Batman Begins, which makes it the perfect film for someone like The Scarecrow. Dr. Jonathan Crane meets mob boss Falcone in prison who he’s had shady dealings with in the past. When Falcone threatens to rat him out to the Gotham police, pulls out his Scarecrow mask, scarring the bejesus out of him and us.
- DC Movies Wiki
The Dark Knight: Joker Speech
Most villains become iconic on the strength of the actor’s performance and their visual design. The Dark Knight’s Joker had those things but something more too: a philosophy. The Joker lays out his beliefs on how “civilization” is a lie and that good people will turn on each other in an instant. With so many movie supervillains serving as bland punching bags for our heroes, it’s a thrill to see one with his own twisted sense of purpose.
The Dark Knight: Truck vs Batcycle
The Dark Knight isn’t as action packed as your average superhero flick. This means that when the action does come, it carries weight. When Joker attacks a police convoy, Batman sets out in hot pursuit. Refreshingly, this sequence is light on CGI and heavy on realism. The scene culminates in the truck spectacularly flipping over and the Joker goading Batman into running him down.
- Batman Wiki
Inception: Zero-G Fight
Probably the best scene in the movie is a fist fight that could have come straight out of The Matrix. Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) grapples with a bad guy (a physical manifestation of a businessman’s mental defences, if you want to get specific) in zero gravity. Incredibly, this stunt was made without any CGI. Instead, an actual hallway and bedroom were constructed and placed on a huge construct. This was used to rotate the fake rooms around and give the impression of zero gravity.
- CGTN America
Inception: The Ending
The moment that had audiences around the world either applauding or pulling their hair out. Cobb is reunited with his family and spins his top. We know that if this is a dream it’ll keep spinning, if it’s reality it’ll fall over. The screen cuts to black before we can know the outcome. The internet was flooded with theories, all claiming to have worked out “the truth”. But really, only Nolan knows for sure.
The Dark Knight Rises: Climbing Up
The final installment of the Dark Knight trilogy was stuffed to the gills with plot. However, Nolan was smart enough to put focus where it mattered. We’ve watched Bruce Wayne’s evolution as Batman and now he faces his most grueling challenge. Climbing out from his underground prison also calls back to his fall into the well in Batman Begins. Thus the circle is complete and Batman is ready to take back his city.
- Movies & TV Stack Exchange
The Dark Knight Rises: Batman v Bane: Dawn of Justice
Batman scores a rematch with Bane on the steps of the Gotham Courthouse. The real thrill is that their battle happens in the middle of a huge clash between the police and escaped convicts. Out of the shadows, Batman is fighting on the frontlines and it’s glorious.
Interstellar: Time is Relative
Cooper and friends flee a strange planet just as a tidal wave was about to hit. Coming back to the ship, they learn that because of complicated physics stuff I won’t pretend I understand, the few hours they thought they spent down there was actually 23 years. A heartbroken Cooper watches recorded videos of his children, now grown up with families of their own.
- Slash Film