Since the start of the 21st century, Hollywood has continued to give the world great directors who have enriched this wonderful art form with their unique and inventive movies. However, only a few have been able to achieve a consistent level of brilliance and creativity film after film. Born on the 30th of July, 1970, in the city of London, England, the United Kingdom, Christopher Nolan is one of those. He is one of cinema’s most iconic directors, one who continues to create an amazing and exquisite career in the world of films.
Christopher Nolan’s first feature film was Following in 1998. The film starred an unknown cast and told the story of a young writer who follows people in the streets, seeing them as an inspiration for a book he is writing. Following is a decent, not great, film but it does give viewers a glimpse of the brilliant mind that is to fully explode in future films.
The creative mind of Christopher Nolan was aptly demonstrated in his second feature, and first great film, Memento (2000). Told in reverse chronological order and starring a fantastic Guy Pearce as its lead character, Memento is a film that shook the film industry to its core. Telling a mysterious story of a man suffering from short-term memory loss, Memento’s unique structure made it a gripping and effective motion picture. It is one of the best films I have ever seen and one I have revisited countless times. Needless to say, the film’s staggering success made Christopher Nolan one of Hollywood’s biggest on-demand directors.
Fresh off the terrific response to Memento, Nolan decided to direct Insomnia (2002), a moody and dark crime film with a star-studded cast: Al Pacino, Hilary Swank, and Robin Williams. The story takes place in a northern town in the United States where the sun does not set in which two homicide detectives are tasked to solve a grisly murder. Insomnia might not have reached the greatness of Memento but it is a well-done motion picture. The acting, along with Nolan’s directing style and the film’s overall visual look, make Insomnia an intriguing film that almost any film-lover will enjoy.
However, it was in 2005 when Christopher Nolan really proved that he is one of cinema’s most talented directors. Employed by Warner Bros. to resurrect their Batman franchise, Nolan co-wrote and directed the first of what would be later called The Dark Knight trilogy, Batman Begins. Telling the origin story of Bruce Wayne and how he later became Batman, Nolan decided to pick Christian Bale for the iconic role. I am one of those who believes this selection was spot-on as Bale perfectly and faithfully brought Nolan’s vision of the caped crusader to the silver screen. Thankfully, the film was a hit with the audience as well as receiving critical acclaim. In my opinion, it is one of the best Batman films ever made.
After the excellent reception of Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan decided to get away from the world of Batman. In 2006, he made The Prestige, which also starred his Batman, Christian Bale, as well as Michael Caine and Hugh Jackman. The film told the story of two magicians in the midst of a great rivalry that only gets the more serious after one of them performs the ultimate illusion. I find this movie one of Nolan’s most unique as the air of mystery and fantasy really works well. The audience is gripped by the film’s events from the very beginning until its stunning ending. A memorable motion picture.
However, it was in 2008 that Christopher Nolan would create one of his greatest masterpieces ever. Building on the world he created and established in Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan co-wrote and directed The Dark Knight, his second film about the Caped Crusader. The film featured largely the same cast but also included an impressive addition, Heath Ledger in the iconic role of The Joker. The movie takes place a couple of years after the events in the first film and finds Batman face-to-face with his most formidable foe.
Needless to say, the film was a huge hit with both the audience and critics. The Dark Knight also has the distinction of being one of the few films to reach over $1 billion in the worldwide box office, an impressive feat for sure. I find this sequel a superior film than its already-superb predecessor not only due to Ledger’s magnificent performance but also for the amazing direction by Nolan. He really has created a film that one will never grow tired of watching for decades to come, thanks to its absorbing plot and fantastic action set-pieces. A truly brilliant piece of cinema.
With a third Batman film on the horizon, Christopher Nolan decided to once again take a break from the DC Comics legend and produce a film he long had in mind, Inception (2010). The film sees the return of Nolan to the mind-bending dramas he made famous with Memento, and it is just as good. The motion picture revolves around a skilled dream extractor who is offered the tempting chance to get his old life back as a reward for what looks like the most impossible of tasks. The film stars a star-studded cast that features Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, and Marion Cotillard. This is the sort of movie I love to watch because of its complex storyline and magnificent visual effects. It is definitely one of Nolan’s most ambitious films that, thankfully, pays off in a massive way. Another Christopher Nolan classic.
Christopher Nolan continued his incredible trend of creating outstanding blockbusters with Inception and it was time for him to end his The Dark Knight trilogy with 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Taking place multiple years after the events that shook Gotham City in The Dark Knight, this third movie saw an aging and retired Bruce Wayne being forced to come out of retirement as a massive menace reaches Gotham City, vowing to turn it into ashes, Bane (played by Tom Hardy). The Dark Knight Rises is a very satisfying end to Nolan’s Batman trilogy, in my opinion. It might not reach the heights The Dark Knight achieved but it is still a top-notch motion picture. With those three films, Nolan has done what seemed to be impossible: rejuvenate the Batman franchise by creating three serious and realistic films that everyone will enjoy. As an avid Batman fan for most of my life, that alone makes Nolan one of cinema’s greatest working directors today.
Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film is scheduled for release in 2014 and is called Interstellar, an ambitious sci-fi motion picture that looks to fit perfectly with Nolan’s hefty ideas. It stars Jessica Chastain, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, who also starred in The Dark Knight Rises, as well as often Nolan collaborator, Michael Caine. I cannot wait to see this movie as it surely will be quite the spectacle.
With still a relatively young directing career, Christopher Nolan has nevertheless been able to produce a series of awe-inspiring motion pictures that are not only crowd-pleasing but also intelligent and well-thought. He is one of my all-time favorite directors with the ability to make me smile every time I am about to watch any of his superb films. In my eyes, Christopher Nolan has already done enough movies that deservedly make him one of the film industry’s most iconic directors.