Hailed as the savior of cinemas, the primacy Christopher Nolan has achieved in Hollywood is quite extraordinary. He remained consistent in making remarkable, standalone films. And with Tenet, his 11th directorial, he set a bar so high that he registered into the list of the most expensive movies ever without making a franchise film or a popular adaptation.
Having seen the film twice by now, it’s about time to update my list and reevaluate my thoughts on his illustrious career. Here are all 11 Christopher Nolan movies ranked worst to best:
11) Following (1998)
Following was Nolan’s debut film, and it remains a brilliant noir. Mainly for its super low budget ($6,000).
The film has a non-linear narrative, chronologically the first time for Nolan, making the best use of its odd runtime. Even at 70 minutes, Following is comprehensive and way intense than an average length feature.
It lacks a familiar face and has a few non-actors. Yet, Nolan churned out compelling performances from them, and despite the non-existing budget, it is technically impressive.
It is ranked at the bottom, for Nolan’s other films are aesthetically and conceptually superior.
10) TENET (2020)
Quite shockingly, Tenet is the first Christopher Nolan movie that disappoints. And it is disappointing solely by Nolan’s own standards.
Paying homage to the James Bond franchise, Nolan takes an unexpectedly formulaic route that makes half of Tenet quite dull. It is a massive film, as you anticipate from Nolan, with some technically awe-inspiring moments. But it feels deliberately convoluted than genuinely inventive.
The film falls short on character development and gives very little to enjoy the second or third time once you fully untangle the plot.
(Read the full review)
9) The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
As a follow-up film to the greatest superhero movie, this one had a lot to live up to. And it did not disappoint.
The Dark Knight Rises is the paradigm of epic. Clocking at 2 hours, 44 minutes, it is without any dull moment. Lee Smith’s masterful editing grips the film throughout, while Nolan and his brother Jonathan ensure the characters remain at the forefront.
The final act of the film, however, wedges a lot of its awesomeness. The sudden drift to conventionality (race against time scenario, a villain defeated too soon, an unforeseen revelation), clubbed with some glaring plot holes (Wayne’s miraculous return to Gotham, undead cops, Batman’s survival from nuclear detonation) is perpetually hard to overlook.