Thursday, May 30, 2024

Looking at Christopher Nolan’s Filmography: The Director’s Best and Worst Films

Nupur Jha 

At the 2024 Oscars, Christopher Nolan won his first Best Director award for Oppenheimer, as well for Best Film. It’s about time the director known for his visionary style and meticulous attention to detail, received the honor that he deserved long ago. But is Oppenheimer Nolan’s best film so far? Far from it! Let’s discuss his best against some of his not-so-best.

But wait! Before we dive in, let’s be clear: Christopher Nolan is an exceptional filmmaker, and there’s no such thing as a “bad” Nolan film. Each of his projects brings something special to the screen, reflecting his unique creative touch.

So, let’s explore his masterpieces along with the ones that didn’t come close.

The “Worst” Nolan Films


Insomnia is one of Christopher Nolan’s lesser-known films, and it marks a significant shift in his directorial career from low-budget to big-budget filmmaking.

Adapted from a 1997 Norwegian crime thriller, the film stars legendary actors Robin Williams and Al Pacino. It follows a troubled cop investigating murders in a small town in Alaska. Accidentally killing his partner, he decides to cover it up. However, the film carries an eerie and depressing tone, making it somewhat wearisome.

Williams, in an attempt to distance himself from his comedic persona, delivers a compelling performance, while Pacino brings his trademark intensity to the role.

Despite the stellar cast, Insomnia suffers from slow pacing, dreary moments, and predictability, detracting from its overall impact.


Dunkirk divides opinions among Nolan fans. Some hail it as one of his finest achievements, while others struggle to connect with its narrative. For viewers who crave drama and detailed explanations, the film might come across as boring.

Nolan took a bold approach by weaving together three different timelines with varying lengths and innovative editing techniques. However, the movie offers little in the way of explicit explanation, leaving audiences to piece together the events themselves.

This lack of handholding can make it challenging for some viewers to fully engage with the story. Especially for people who are not into historical or war films.


Tenet comes across as Christopher Nolan’s declaration of “See how you decipher things when I don’t spell them out.”. It’s definitely unique, with scenes only he could come up with. But here’s the catch: it’s a bit like doing homework to understand it.

Even with stars like John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Michael Caine, the movie didn’t click with audiences. The plot, about a secret agent manipulating time to stop World War III, sounds simple, but it’s not.

Nolan makes it long, complicated and full of twists, so it’s hard to follow without help. People will always end up watching explanation videos just to figure out what’s going on. In addition, people are unable to connect to the main character due to a lack of introduction or a proper backstory.

The Best Nolan Films


Interstellar takes you on an incredible ride into a fictional outer space world, carefully crafted by Christopher Nolan to keep you hooked every step of the way. It’s got everything: great characters, an engaging storyline, and stunning visuals that bring its dystopian world to life.

Matthew McConaughey’s character goes through a rollercoaster of emotions, making his journey one of the most powerful and heartbreaking parts of the movie. And Nolan’s storytelling ties everything together, making the whole experience a real emotional journey for the audience.


Nolan is truly a fearless filmmaker and an extraordinary storyteller. Just think about it – who else could dream up something as mind-bending as Inception and bring it to life on screen?

The movie follows a team of high-tech thieves who enter people’s dreams to steal their deepest secrets, but then find themselves on a mission to plant an idea instead. It’s a race against time where if they fail to wake up, they risk being trapped forever as their minds unravel.

The complexity of the film requires careful attention from the audience, as it’s layered with intricate details. But beyond its cool premise, Inception also offers a poignant character journey that adds depth and emotion to the story. Despite the complicated storyline, the film is not that hard to understand.

The Dark Knight

DC fans have every reason to boast about Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight.’ It’s not just another comic book adaptation; it is a cinematic masterpiece that transcends its genre.

Nolan’s vision and execution elevate the film to unparalleled heights, offering mesmerizing visuals and deeply compelling characters. Christian Bale delivers a haunting portrayal of a wounded and tormented Batman, while Heath Ledger’s Joker remains the definitive portrayal of the iconic villain in DC history. It is not just Ledger’s performance as Joker, but it is also the underlying philosophy of the film about good vs evil, justice vs anarchy, etc that makes it one of the most popular and critically acclaimed films.

Despite not being an instant blockbuster upon its release, The Dark Knight has earned its place among the greatest films ever made, proudly hailed as a masterpiece of cinema.

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