Whether you’re hyping up for ‘Tenet’ or not ready to return to theaters yet, here are the top five other movies by writer/director Christopher Nolan!

Written by: Tea Kingley – September 21st, 2020 10:41pm pst

Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros.

Acclaimed writer/director Christopher Nolan is known for his love of bending timelines, shooting on film, and controversial sound techniques among other things. His films are all must watches for movie buffs and novices looking to get more into the artform alike. His latest movie Tenet is one of the few movies that has still been released in theaters despite COVID. 

The film stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki and is about a secret agent who manipulates time to prevent World War III. Whether you’re getting hyped up before seeing Tenet or aren’t ready to go back to movie theaters yet and are trying to fill the void, here’s a list of the top five best Nolan movies to watch now!

Credit: Warner Bros Pictures via AP

  1. Starting with the writer/director’s most recent work aside from Tenet, Dunkirk was released in 2017 and is a war epic depicting World War II. The film follows the allied evacuation of Dunkirk in France, where, miraculously, over 300,000 soldiers were rescued from the beach with the help of civilians after being cut off by German troops. Telling the story from land, air, and sea, Dunkirk uses stellar performances, editing, and cinematography but very little dialogue to show the losses and triumphs of Operation Dynamo. Notably, Dunkirk is Harry Styles’ film acting debut, and the film garnered eight nominations — including (surprisingly, Nolan’s first nod for directing) — and three wins at the Academy Awards.

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

  1. Coming in at number four is The Prestige, starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. The pair give powerhouse performances as rival magicians who will do anything to find and perform the best illusions. The 2006 film was directed by Christopher Nolan and was written by him and his brother Jonathan, who are frequent writing partners. The sci-fi mystery thriller is based on a novel of the same name, and also features performances by Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, and one David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. If you love twist endings, The Prestige is a great movie for you.

Credit: Newmarket Films/Rex Features

  1. Nolan’s first feature film was Memento, a psychological thriller with hints of neo-noir released in 2000. The film was written by Christopher Nolan but was based on a pitch from his brother Jonathan, who wrote a short story based on his original idea as well. The film is about a man (Guy Pearce) who suffered an injury causing amnesia, which in this case means his short term memory resets every 15 minutes or so. This makes his quest to find whoever murdered his wife much more difficult, and he uses tattoos, post-its, and polaroids to try to help him remember everything. Memento made a huge splash in the film world and is still revered today for the unique way it plays with timelines: the film is made up of color sequences, which show events in reverse chronological order starting at the end of the story, alternated with black and white sequences, which are in chronological order starting at the beginning of the story; the two timelines meet at the end of the film but in the middle of the actual story creating a viewing experience that mimics the main character’s amnesiatic state. Nolan famously loves to play with timelines, and this first film of his does so uniquely and exceptionally well.

Credit: Stephen Vaughn/Warner Bros

  1. One of the most referenced (by name, at least) movies out there, Inception is a 2010 sci-fi action film that was written and directed by Christopher Nolan who also co-produced it with his wife. The film features an ensemble cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, and more, and is about a man (DiCaprio) who steals information from people’s subconscious. The film is based on the concept of lucid dreaming, and once again plays with timelines as time slows down the deeper into a dream you go. The pinnacle of trippy movies, Inception won four Oscars and was nominated for four more. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for?!

Credit: Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros

  1. Despite receiving semi-mixed reviews, my favorite Nolan film is, without a doubt, Interstellar (2014), which Christopher Nolan co-wrote (alongside Jonathan Nolan once again), directed, and produced. Taking place in the future when humanity is struggling to survive, a group of astronauts are tasked with finding a new home for mankind. Themes such as family, humanity, and survival abound, portrayed by stars such as Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Nolan regular Michael Caine, and even a young Timothée Chalamet in one of his first roles. The film took great care to not stray too far from science, including Physics Nobel Prize winner Kip Thorne as not only a scientific consultant but also an Executive Producer. If you’ve ever thought about the universe, pondered space-time, or wondered what goes on inside a black hole, Interstellar will pique your interest and capture your mind even long after the final credits have rolled.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

BONUS: I couldn’t leave the Dark Knight trilogy off this list, now could I? Made up of Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), the critically acclaimed series stars Christian Bale as Batman and Heath Ledger method acting as the Joker. Ledger tragically passed away after wrapping The Dark Knight, but his legacy lives on in his iconic performances and the many lives he’s touched. This series is the perfect intersection between masterful filmmaking and a superhero story, so if you haven’t watched it yet you definitely should!

About The Author:

Tea Kingley is a senior at Emerson College who is majoring in Marketing and Film. She is passionate about all things entertainment and loves being both in front of the camera and a member of the crew. Tea also enjoys marketing, social media, and writing. She’s a TV, movie, and pop culture aficionado. Tea is always eager to discuss the latest releases and news.

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