What makes a great director? There are countless filmmakers around the world that aspire to bring their creative visions to life on screen, but few who ever become widely known for their art.
Is it earning recognition? On 90 occasions the Academy Award For Best Director has been handed out to the individual deemed the best behind the camera by their peers, but there are several examples of luminaries that never took home the gong, such as Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick.
Is it prolificness? Having a wide and varied body of work enables a director to showcase their talents in a number of different genres and styles. Some might be inclined to rush out film after film rather than take the time to hone each one, however.
Regardless of the definition used, few could deny that the ten listed individuals are in a class of their own when it comes to filmmaking. Given how highly many of their features are regarded, however, they each have works in their filmography that are less renowned, but no less worthy of merit than their counterparts.
10. Christopher Nolan - The Prestige (2006)
Last year's Dunkirk was Christopher Nolan's tenth feature as a director and it earned him the first Oscar nomination in the twenty year period it has taken to bring them to life. Beginning with 1998's Following, this timeframe has seen him release a trilogy of Batman films that redefined the superhero genre and make numerous forays into the worlds of mystery and science fiction with the likes of Insomnia, Inception and Interstellar.
Sandwiched between his first two Batman outings, The Prestige is often overlooked when the British-American's cinematic achievements are discussed. Starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as rival magicians Robert Angier and Alfred Borden in Victorian London, it quickly becomes a gripping thriller as its intricacies are slowly unravelled.
Nolan thrives with the presentation of non-linear narratives, best evidenced in his early career through Memento. The Prestige uses the technique exquisitely as the complexities surrounding Angier and Borden gradually become apparent through the interwoven depiction of past and present.
The viewer is drip-fed a trail of subtle hints that not all is at it seems, but few can predict the revelations of the film's finale first time around, making them a shock for the uninitiated in the vein of the Usual Suspects. Whilst the disclosure of Angier's secret is something of a cop-out, the accompanying twist of Borden and the mysterious Fallon's shared identity and conflicting love interests more than makes up for it.