The best and worst of Christopher Nolan’s filmography

Christopher Nolan, the person in charge of the best Batman that saw the big screen.

Christopher Nolan, the person in charge of the best Batman that saw the big screen.

In times of productions subject to the logic of large franchises and a thousand continuations, Christopher Nolan He is one of those few authors who still summons due to the weight of his name. And although his cinema has its ups and downs (although it does not mean that all his films deserve to be revisited), we review all his work from his less successful filmic bets to the best.

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The Big Trick (2006)

It would be unfair to say that The big trick It’s one of Nolan’s worst movies. In fact it is not bad, but it is the one that has the least the essence of the director, that seal that links this piece to the rest of his work (and no, the presence of Christian bale is not synonymous with that). The duel between two magicians in 19th century London shows a Nolan on automatic pilot, capable of putting together a good story, but without giving it too much flight. It is a “neither”, a “meets but does not stand out”, and in many ways the only grace of the story is in the final trick, a symptom of the apathy generated by the film as a whole. Available on Google Play and Apple TV.

The Origin (2010)

Yes, it has an action scene of superlative beauty and a series of visual ideas that make it a unique piece, but with The origin, Nolan is locked in his own maze. The story of a group of agents dedicated to navigating the plane of the unconscious is repetitive, stretched, as if the director did not trust the power of his images and needed to underline again and again, through dialogues, each instance of the image. plot. And although Nolan is a cultist of kilometer movies (which usually last more than two hours), in The origin the fascination for some tricks ends up undermining the solidity of the story and its characters. Available on Movistar Play, Google Play and Apple TV.

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The end point of Nolan’s acclaimed gothic trilogy was not up to the task. After two very well planted chapters, the director found himself faced with the challenge of closing his vision of Batman, seeking a balance between a great audiovisual show and a realization of the personal path of the tormented Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). But a plot riddled with contradictions and forced resolutions, the lack of a meticulously constructed villain, and an unusually sweetened closure for a hero as gray as Batman, ended up giving this story an ambiguous flavor. The chemistry between Bruce and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) does not work as it should, Bane (Tom hardy) doesn’t have much of an impact, and the twist linked to Miranda Tate (Marion cotillard) is unconvincing. In the path of the hits, there is the huge opening scene between two planes docking and the very successful work of Joseph Gordon-Levitt like a robin reversal in code not to go. Available on Movistar Play and HBO Max.

Following (1998)

Nolan’s debut feature, as happens with many authors who begin to rehearse their own style, is a draft that advances forms that will soon be perfected. The bond between two men, a writer in search of inspiration and a thief, is the vehicle with which Nolan explores his own way of narrating, marked by a character obsessed with his task. With a budget of just six thousand dollars, the director opted for a project that focused on its protagonists and a polished script as its main ally. It was still missing for the great action scenes typical of his cinema, but Following it is without a doubt the piece of a budding author. (Not commercially released in Argentina).

Insomnia (2002)

insomnia is another atypical title in this director’s career, but unlike The big trick, it is much more armed in its structure. With his third film, Nolan earned the trust of the industry and established his name as someone capable of directing a big-star, bigger-budget film. This remake from the Norwegian film of the same name tells of the psychological torment of a city policeman (Al Pacino), who must solve a homicide in Alaska. Although the case presents some difficulties, the brutal climate of the place leads him to accidentally kill his partner. Prisoner of guilt, this episode will make you an easy target for blackmailing by a disturbed man who lives there (played by Robin williams). In many aspects, insomnia It looks like a commissioned movie, although Nolan knew how to appropriate it. On the one hand, it is the only remake of his career and also the only feature film whose script he did not write. Despite this, the director found in this story a related theme: that of the link between two characters locked in a tortured dynamic, trying to define themselves through their differences. insomnia It was an exercise in which Nolan demonstrated his versatility, but also a debut and farewell when it came to directing other people’s ideas. (Available on DVD).

Batman Begins (2005)

After the box office failure of Batman and robin, Warner gave the bat a break for several years. Until in 2005, a new version of the hero hit the screen. Without the brutal advertising campaign of its predecessors, Batman starts It seemed like a more discreet bet, an essay to test how interested the public was in being reunited with a real flesh and blood Batman. The result was a pleasant surprise. The script of the director and David S. Goyer puts the accent on the birth of the hero, his training and those hesitant first steps as the dreaded vigilante. Unlike the version of Tim Burton, Nolan focuses on Bruce Wayne more than Batman, shows his commitment to justice, his need to surround himself with trustworthy people and the construction of that frivolous image as the greatest playboy of Gotham. This is not a lonely Batman but one who builds a family of allies to help him on his mission and that is something very new. Available on Movistar Play and HBO Max.

Tenet (2020)

In a pandemic context, Tenet It became the biggest of the cinematic premieres and symbolically demonstrated how important the military presence in movie theaters is. This feature film is a kind of thematic sequel to The origin, and if before dreams were the battlefield, now is the passing of time. The most interesting thing here is Nolan’s bravery in terms of not repeating past mistakes, without worrying about the convoluted story he gives priority to the nerve of adventure. In this way, the director offers scenes of a fascinating bombast and charismatic characters that immerse the viewer in a plot that advances furious against any type of credibility (said this as a compliment). Tenet is a charmingly chaotic Nolan devoted to the enjoyment of large-scale cinema. Available on Movistar Play and HBO Max and Directv Go.

Memento (2000)

“It’s the movie that goes backwards!”, So they recommended to Memento many years ago, in cinema circuits, festivals and film universities. The director broke in with this film, whose protagonist suffered a short-term amnesia, which prevented him from remembering what had happened to him in the last minutes. As a way to solve this problem and dedicated to finding the murderer of his wife, Leonard (Guy pierce) data is tattooed to remember key clues in the solution of the case. The protagonist has no choice but to distrust everyone, knowing that his discoveries may be lost in the fragility of his memory. With this story that goes chronologically in reverse, Nolan placed the viewer under the gaze of Leonard, allowing him to discover little by little not where he is going, but where he comes from. Thanks to Memento, the director attacked with the force of a steamroller, and showed a very promising future, which today finds him as one of the few (very few) current authors, capable of combining prestige with box office. Available on Movistar Play, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and StarzPlay.

Dunkirk (2017)

Going through the war is a mandatory locker for filmmakers devoted to genre cinema, and in Nolan’s case, his approach to the war left an unavoidable piece. The plot of the film revolves around a mission to evacuate thousands of allied soldiers from France, with the Nazi army on their heels. And with this premise, Nolan finds the raw material for his war epic, in which he detaches himself from the commonplaces of war cinema to tell a collective feat. Here the director rehearses a presentation of different stories that run simultaneously, with no major protagonists than the war and its consequences. For the first time, the characters are not the owners of the story, but the environment is what defines each of them. In this context, Nolan captures several of the most enormous scenes in his work, in which anonymous heroes, with no more extraordinary gifts than leadership and dedication to their mission, transcend at least a few moments, within a bleak context. Available on Movistar Play and HBO Max.

Interstellar (2014)

Much, much controversy around Interstellar. For its detractors, this space epic brought together the most unbearable aspects of Nolan: his solemn climates, a bombast on the verge of ridicule and an ambitious plot that ended up chilling the emotion of the story. But for its defenders, behind this epic was the director’s most unexpectedly emotional proposal. Nolan is not a writer who exposes too much the feelings or the anguish of his characters and his protagonists tend to obsess over missions that cause them more suffering than you enjoy. In fact, its heroes could be considered to be characterized by imposing impossible goals and the adventure consists of discovering how willing they are to accept defeat as a possibility. Yet in some way, they all achieve relative success. And if well Interstellar It is a grandiose story, the film actually hides a very simple core, with which it is easy to empathize: the need for survival and the unconditional love of a father for his daughter. Available on Movistar Play, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Batman: the Dark Knight (2008)

The second part of the Batman trilogy showed Nolan coming up with the perfect formula. A bit like Tim Burton (who in Batman returns, He appropriated Gothic folklore to build a story much more akin to his world), the director’s interest in great rivalries, found between Wayne and the Joker (Heath Ledger) an ideal counterpoint. The director respected the essence of Batman and gave him a series of traits that also live in other heroes of his filmography, such as the pain in the face of defeat, the need to define oneself through opposites and the collapse of unattainable ideals. From the director’s point of view, Bruce Wayne is a dejected character and his rivalry with the Joker forces him to jeopardize his own principles. In fact, the representation of that villain is so perfect, that it even gives up giving it a reason for being that is beyond that phrase that Alfred pronounces about how there are people “who only want to see the world burn.” Batman: The Dark Knight It is not only a masterpiece of superhero cinema, but it is the cornerstone of Nolan as a director, where he demonstrated not only some of his cinematic influences such as those of Michael Mann but also his deep respect for comics and his quest to find a voice of his own. Available on Movistar Play and HBO Max.

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