10 Times Christopher Nolan Proved He's The Best Director Alive – CBR – Comic Book Resources

From The Dark Knight to Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan has proven his mastery of movies time and time again.
Filmmaking is undoubtedly an art form and the very best artists maintain their consistency. Regardless of era, few directors can boast the wealth of critical acclaim that Christopher Nolan has received so far in his career. From The Dark Knight to Dunkirk, the talented creator has shown his mastery of movies time and time again.
RELATED: The Dark Knight Rises: The 10 Best Quotes From The Film
His films have dominated both the box office and award ceremonies, and when it comes to competition, the ambitious movie man has almost no real rivals. Exceptional and always electric, Christopher Nolan has little left to prove because. Upon reflection of Nolan’s career, the British filmmaker has already been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.
One of the most important elements within a movie’s runtime is its midpoint – the moment when the plot usually thickens to the point of no return. A twist in the tale is a vital ingredient in keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. Nolan has demonstrated his mastery of this technique on more than one occasion. For the most magnificent example, look no further than the halfway point in his sci-fi mind-bender Inception. Deep in the dream world, Cobb and co. find out that at this level of lucid, they can actually die in real life. Few movies have ever raised the stakes quite so effectively with a single piece of dialogue.
The movie that made Christopher Nolan a household name, Memento took the world by storm upon release in 2000. The neo-noir thriller had critics, cinema-goers, and everyone in between sitting up and taking notice of the director. Memento‘s nonlinear narrative structure would not only amaze the masses, it would lay the groundwork for Christopher Nolan’s iconic style and truly announce him as one of Hollywood’s most talented filmmakers.
Before the British filmmaker had monstrously large budgets to play around with, Christopher NOlan was making his name by crafting grounded, unpredictable, and captivating thrillers.
RELATED: Eddie Murphy & 9 More Actors Who’ve Done Both Family-Friendly & Hard R
Insomnia is one of the great examples of Nolan’s ability to direct an actor. Although Robin Williams was undeniably one of his generation’s true greats, Nolan’s part in turning him into despicable serial killer Walter Finch deserves far more recognition than it often receives.
Taking inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction mind-blower 2001: A Space Odyssey, Christopher Nolan created one of modern sci-fi’s finest entries. Interstellar is one of Nolan’s best works and somehow manages to stand out among the many excellent movies from the British filmmaker.
When discussing things that stand out in Interstellar, nothing matches up to the hair-raising heights of the docking sequence. Hans Zimmer’s score alone is enough to have the audience feeling like they’ve been strapped to a rocket, yet this heart-pounding scene is Nolan at his best.
Christopher Nolan’s skillset reaches far beyond creating thrilling set-pieces or getting the best out of his stars. Though he does both of these things in 2006’s The Prestige, it’s the film’s jaw-dropping twist ending that really hammers home just how gifted Nolan really is. Nolan’s fifth film is another masterpiece in storytelling, and The Prestige‘s final reveal has had fans re-watching this sci-fi thriller in the years since its release.
In typical Nolan fashion, the acclaimed filmmaker opted for an unusual approach when taking his stab at the war genre in 2017. Rather than crafting deep backstories to attach the audience to his characters, Nolan opted to simply put viewers into the trench foot-fueling boots of a young soldier trapped on a beach in the north of France.
For audience members, there’s almost no moment during Dunkirk’s hour and 46 minutes that jaws aren’t clenched. Christopher Nolan’s World War II masterpiece may not be Saving Private Ryan, but Dunkirk is more than worthy of standing alongside it as one of cinema’s greatest war films.
It may be hard to imagine now, but The Caped Crusader was once more famous for colorful costumes complete with bat-nipples than being a dark and gritty vigilante. The late ’90s had been incredibly unkind to the World’s Greatest Detective, so Christopher Nolan stepped in and effectively saved big-screen Batman forever.
With a stellar performance from Christian Bale as the Dark Knight himself, Nolan gave bat fans the blockbuster adaptation they had long been yearning for in Batman Begins. His revival of one of pop culture’s most iconic went a long way in making Christopher Nolan one of Hollywood’s most bankable directors.
Heath Ledger’s legendary posthumous Oscar win is a well-deserved testament to the actor’s tremendous talent, yet some credit has to go to The Dark Knight’s director in extracting such a timeless showing from a star many believed to be initially miscast as Batman’s nemesis.
RELATED: 10 Ways The Dark Knight Will Always Be The Best Batman Movie
The result now is of course that Ledger’s name and likeness will forever be entwined with the clown prince of crime. As great as Jack Nicholson, Joaquin Phoenix, and even Mark Hamill have been in the role, Heath Ledger may just be the greatest Joker the world has ever seen.
A director famous for his use of practical effects, showing Inception’s spinning hallway scene to anyone unfamiliar with the movie would likely leave them scratching their heads attempting to figure out how it was possible without CGI. It certainly was possible, and it’s all part of the practical magic of the movies, something Nolan arguably has no equal in when it comes to modern-day filmmakers.
With his second Batman movie, Christopher Nolan didn’t just create cinema’s best ever superhero showing, he arguably gave the world one of the greatest movies ever made. The Dark Knight is a truly priceless treasure among gold in the director’s filmography, and its impact on cinema and the superhero genre, in general, cannot be overstated.
NEXT: 10 Trilogies To Watch If You Love The Dark Knight Trilogy
Nate Reeves is a writer and filmmaker based in North West England. With unrealized dreams of being the next Quentin Tarantino, he figured the best alternative was to write about all things movie and TV for Comic Book Resources. In the past, he’s worked on BBC Wales and S4C productions, as well as producing and directing his short films. His spare time is spent as a Pokemon Trainer, in one of the many ways one can accomplish such a wonderful thing in 2021. You can reach him on Instagram at @n8himself