Ranking Every Christopher Nolan Film From Worst To Best

From Gotham City to the beaches of Northern France.

chris nolan kenneth branagh
Warner Bros.

Christopher Nolan's career has followed an upward trajectory since the release of his breakthrough film Memento, the movie nobody would stop banging on about in 2000.

A magic combination of universal acclaim and massive box office takings has allowed the filmmaker to tackle any topic he chooses ever since, and he's embraced this by building a diverse back catalogue.

From superheroism to space epics, Nolan has been there and beyond, and his latest project has even added a war story to his glistening portfolio.

Although the aforementioned film categories have been thoroughly well explored, Nolan is one of those rare, visionary filmmakers with the ability to deconstruct genres and shine original light onto familiar subject matter.

Like many of his more recent movies, Dunkirk is a blockbuster behemoth with sprawling cinematography and immersive special effects, but the director didn't start out making films of this magnitude.

His beginnings were humble, yet even his early work made the bold statements of intent you'd expect from a helmer who went on to become a master of his craft.

But how do Nolan's formative films measure up against projects like the stellar Dark Knight Trilogy, and where does Dunkirk fit into a definitive ranking of the director's filmography to date?

10. Insomnia

chris nolan kenneth branagh
Warner Bros. Pictures

You won't find a terrible movie on this list, but you will find an ultimately forgettable one called Insomnia.

After scoring a breakout hit with Memento at the turn of the millennium, Christopher Nolan tried his hand at a studio project with an ensemble cast, and the result was an important learning experience for the filmmaker.

Set against the backdrop of a small Alaskan fishing town where the sun shines even at night, Insomnia follows a slightly dirty cop played by Al Pacino, whose sleepless nights are haunted by the possibility that he may have killed his partner.

The film places him on an equal footing with Robin Williams's killer - a role which highlights the late actor's underappreciated range - as Nolan weaves a hazy tale of grey morality and psychological thrills.

Although what threatens to be a promising, alternative thriller unravels when the guns start blazing in the final act, the director's penchant for sprawling aerial shots and his ability to draw performances out of a triple-A cast were honed right here.


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