Christopher Nolan has directed some of the most profitable films (and film trilogies) in film history, and his style of film making has had an undeniable impact on scores of other directors. His films are often characterized by their dark tone and intellectual themes.
I have been a fan of Nolan's films since Insomnia, in which Robin Williams turned in one of his finest performances. I later went back and saw Memento, and from that time on I've seen all of Nolan's films in the theater. While I think that some of his movies have definite flaws, he is definitely one of the most independent and original film makers that Hollywood has seen in some time.
What follows is a list of his films, and my opinions on each.
1. Following (1998)
I have yet to see this movie. It is more of a student film, and none of the cast members have (so far) gone on to fame and fortune. A young man follows strangers around London.
2. Memento (2000)
Guy Pearce stars as a man with serious memory lapses. It's a wonderfully moody film, driven by an excellent script.
3. Insomnia (2002)
Al Pacino travels to Alaska to investigate a murder, and his inability to sleep during the long Alaskan summer forms a key element of the plot. Robin Williams is terrific in this movie, and it was sadly overlooked at the time.
4. Batman Begins (2005)
This movie, along with Marvel's Iron Man, was what really got the superhero film genre going. Nolan's more realistic take on Batman was a welcome relief from earlier, more cartoonish incarnations.
5. The Prestige (2006)
Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale face off as rival magicians around the turn of the century. If you look very closely you will notice a surprising cameo by David Bowie. This might by my favorite of Nolan's films, and I have seen it many times.
6. The Dark Knight (2008)
Maybe the best superhero movie ever, and also a prescient commentary on the loss of individual freedoms in modern America. Heath Ledger turns in an Oscar-winning performance as The Joker, and the whole thing builds up to a big, triumphant finale.
7. Inception (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a corporate spy capable of infiltrating people's dreams. The visuals are stunning, and the variable passage of time would also be explored in Interstellar. In my opinion Inception was the best movie of 2010.
8. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A somewhat disappointing end to Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. This movie felt overlong, and lacked the twists and turns that made both Inception and The Dark Knight so great. While Anne Hathaway was excellent as Catwoman, I almost wish that Nolan had never made this movie.
9. Interstellar (2014)
Nolan's most recent film, and perhaps the film that suffers most from his already weighty reputation. There is an ambition in this movie that's admirable, but it's trying to do too many things at once. I'll probably have a more concrete opinion on this film after I've seen it again on DVD.
10. His Next Film? (?)
Nolan is the producer on several of Warner Bros. upcoming superhero properties, but he's wisely avoided announcing any further plans with regard to directing. He has stated a wish to avoid the superhero genre in the future, and I think this is a wise decision. I'm hoping that whatever he does is a bit smaller in scale.