The Films of … Christopher Nolan

A series about my favourite directors and their filmography.

Christopher Nolan is a British-American screenwriter, producer and director. Nolan’s films are typically explore human morality, the construction of time, epistemological and metaphysical themes and the malleable nature of memory and personal identity. He is also whom I consider to be one of the best auteur directors that cinema has to give. Let’s have a look at his films.

Following 1998

Nolan breaks out into the cinematic world with Following, an independent neo-noir crime thriller, of which he also pennedIt concerns a young writer in London who follows strangers in the hope of gaining new material, and soon falls into the criminal underworld, quickly losing his boundaries and morals. 

Memento 2000

Guy Pearce stars as Leonard Shelby, a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia that has caused short-term memory loss and the inability to form new memories. He is searching for the people who attacked him and killed his wife, using an intricate system of Polaroid photographs and tattoos to track information he cannot remember. Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano co-star.

Insomnia 2002

A remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name. In a small fishing town called Nightmute, Alaska, a young girl has been murdered.  Two detectives Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) have been enlisted from the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate. Robin Williams co-stars as Walter Finch, a local crime writer who has much interest in the case, and Hilary Swank as Detective Elle Burr, charged with investigating the fatal shooting of Hap Eckhart.

Batman Begins 2005

The film is what the title states, Batman Begins.  Christian Bale stars as the titular character in a live action origin story of a beloved DC comics character.  Here we are introduced to the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), and Ras Aghoul, the main antagonist. 

The Prestige 2006

Under the tutelage of stage engineer, John Cutter (Michael Caine), Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are would-be magicians that become adversaries after a magic trick involving Angier’s wife, Julia (Piper Perabo) becomes fatal. Both men become obsessed with each others’ successes, much to the detriment of others. Scarlett Johansson is Olivia, who becomes assistant to both men and Rebecca Hall as Sarah, Borden’s ill-fated wife. A fantastic tale of obsession and betrayal.

The Dark Knight 2008

Christian Bale reprises his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman, to defend his beloved Gotham City against the Joker (played by the late Heath Ledger), causing many upsetting consequences. Not only for the organised crime syndicates in Gotham, but also Harvey Dent, the District Attorney that has been hailed as Gotham’s White Knight. 

Inception 2010

Leonardo Di Caprio is Cobb, who leads an all star team into a heist, but with a difference. It is a dream heist.  They have been recruited to penetrate the mind of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), who is about to inherit his father’s business empire. The only thing is, things don’t go according to plan because of Cobb’s dead wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard).

The Dark Knight Rises 2012

Christian Bale returns as Batman and eight years after the death of Harvey Dent . He has to pause his grief and stop being a hermit to defend Gotham against Bane (Tom Hardy). This film notably has been inspired by Knightfall (1993), The Dark Knight Returns (1996), and No Mans Land (1999) storylines from the Batman comic series. Anne Hathaway co-stars as Selina Kyle (Catwoman).

Interstellar 2014

Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway star in this science fiction film that is set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive. A group of astronauts travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new home for mankind.  Seems straight forward? You can bet your Christopher Nolan that it just is not that straight forward. 

Dunkirk 2017

In this film Nolan depicts the evacuation of Dunkirk during World War 2 through the perspectives of those on land, air and sea with an ensemble cast including; Fionn Whitehead, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh. Dunkirk portrays the evacuation with little dialogue, as the suspense derives from the cinematography and music.

Tenet 2020

John David Washington stars as the protagonist, a CIA agent who learns to manipulate the flow of time to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to decimate the present world. His antagonist is the Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). What ensues is a mind-bending tale of espionage on a completely different level. Robert Pattinson shines as Neil, the Protagonist’s handler.

A very deep body of work indeed.  Can it be agreed that Christopher Nolan’s films always warrant a second viewing, whether you understood it the first time or not?  Which of his films did you enjoy?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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