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Christopher Nolan Ranked

My favorite filmmaker and most likely the reason why I want to be a filmmaker in the first place, but where do his films stand when put up against each other?
9Billy Joel
The Stranger

Saying Christopher Nolan's first feature film is his weakest is more of a compliment than anything. Considered that it was made with a shoe-string budget, Nolan manages to make a twisting and turning homage to classic film noir, rife with style and savage wit, even if it doesn't embody the humanity that his later films will come to be known for. It's an inspiring entrance to a medium I hope to one day be a part of.
8Green Day

A dreary yet beautiful look a guilt and self-awareness, Nolan harbors gut-wrenchingly perfect performances from both Al Pacino and Robin Williams in a neo-noir that's more afraid of the light than it is of the shadows. I really need to see this one again, I remember being startled by its never-ending dread, which is probably due to being a remake of a Scandinavian film of the same name.
7Avenged Sevenfold
City of Evil

Batman Begins:
Breaking into the mainstream isn't always easy for an independent filmmaker, but with only three films under his belt, Nolan was tasked with giving birth to the reboot of the Batman franchise. It isn't a perfect film and seems to move with a manufactured pace, but it builds an important story rich with character and motive over slick visuals and a deliberate move back to the franchise's roots in darkness and noir.
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

The Dark Knight Rises:
This film blew me away (and still does) when I first saw it, but on each repeated viewing a part of that magic is lost. Nolan gets a bit too lost in the philosophical quandaries throughout much of its bloated runtime, and levels it all out in an exhilarating but disappointingly straightforward climax involving a bunch of people shooting each other. I'm sounding more harsh than I intend too, because the film is an absolute blockbuster treat. In the end it's an amazing film, just not an great Nolan film, and it's barely even a Batman film.
5Smashing Pumpkins
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

A mind-bending, captivating, frustrating, masterfully-directed film that leaves the viewer in a constant state of confusion and anxiety. Repeated viewings may take away that state of confusion, but only lead to a greater understanding of the events that unfold. A classic example of turning the very basis of cinema on it's head, while not forgetting to tell an emotional and necessary story at the same time.
4Linkin Park
A Thousand Suns

Nolan got a lot of shit for literally bending the fabric of storytelling to make what was pretty much a deus-ex-machina feel like one of the most emotionally satisfying endings in the genre. As a fan of epic science fiction films, hearing that Nolan would be tackling Interstellar, saying I was excited is an understatement. In the end, he marries his very iconic style extremely well to science-fiction, using beautiful visuals and an inspired plot to evoke the most important hallmark of the genre: hope for the future.
3TV on the Radio
Young Liars

The Prestige:
Quite possibly his most twisted endeavor, The Prestige is an excellent dual character study seething with cynicism and filled to the brim with the style of the best period pieces. Incredible performances from Hugh Jackson and Christian Bale drive home the emotion of the work, guiding you down the labyrinth of storylines within storylines that always makes sense but always leaves you puzzled. That's truly the work of a master storyteller.
2Brand New
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

The Dark Knight:
The Dark Knight is the action movie equivalent of a Shakespearean tragedy. Orchestrated with the full extent of Nolan's artistic ability, it pulls out all the stops: deep emotion, complex morality plays, an incredible villain, fully realized characters, etc. This is the movie Batman deserved all these years, and it'll never be topped. With some of the most stylish realist direction and a straight-up genius script, this is a near-perfect film.
1Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork

It's no coincidence that it's around the first time I saw this that I discovered that I wanted to be a filmmaker. Quite possibly my favorite film of all-time, it's also one of the hardest to explain my feelings on. Inception is like a symphony. Everything comes together perfectly in sight, sound, and feeling to come to the most heart-wrenching climax and the most satisfying conclusion I can think of for any other film in my memory. And about that ending... well... let's just say it only makes it all the better.
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