From Gotham City to outer space, there is no place Christopher Nolan has gone where audiences haven't followed. As the filmmakers' latest film, "Dunkirk," hits theaters, we've ranked his best and worst cinematic efforts.
10. 'Interstellar' (2014) Visually impressive but narratively flawed, "Interstellar" talks a lot about love and the awe of exploration without successfully dramatizing it. It even denies its hero, Cooper (the great Matthew McConaughey) -- who has always wanted to go into space -- a beat where he gets to bask in finally being able to get his wish. The movie can't take the time to invest in characters when it should because it spends too much time pushing plot and headache-y exposition. (And no, you're not wrong, the sound mix is hard to hear at times.)
9. 'The Dark Knight Rises' (2012) Nolan capped off his "Dark Knight" trilogy with a bloated, plot hole-filled epic that wraps up loose threads while unnecessarily unraveling others. Bane's voice is the least of the film's problems, especially when the movie argues that all you need to heal a broken back is some old mountain man's touch and, um, push-ups. From Batman's arc being that he goes from seclusion to retirement (which isn't an arc), to faking his death at the cost of Alfred's well-being (which heroes don't do), "Rises" falls incredibly short of earning the emotional resonance that the previous films pulled off effortlessly.
8. 'Following' (1998) Nolan's first full-length feature overcomes its budgetary restrictions to deliver a taut and tense drama that toys with themes of identity that the director would grapple with on larger-scaled projects.
7. 'Insomnia' (2002) Al Pacino and Robin Williams headline a great ensemble, and give truly underrated performances, in Nolan's first (and only) remake. Unable to sleep in an Alaskan town where the sun never sets, Pacino's detective struggles to find a killer who may or may not have proof that Pacino killed a fellow cop. This slow-burn thriller is equal parts procedural and morality play; it's one of Nolan's most underrated works.
6. 'Inception' (2010) Yes, there is LOTS of exposition. "Inception" is sometimes a commercial for it. But there is also lots of crazy-good dreamscape action (we watch that gravity-defying hallway fight daily) and strong emotional beats in this captivating thriller. (Nevermind that Leo's master idea thief gives Cillian Murphy and his daddy issues a false emotional catharsis, just so Leo can be with his kids.)
5. 'The Prestige' (2006) Man, is this movie good. Like, "can't-wait-to-see-it-again" good. Two dueling magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) will stop at nothing to pull off the ultimate trick -- even if it means losing the ones they love and breaking the laws of known science. Nolan's adaptation of the book of the same name is a mix of sci-fi twists and tragic drama.
4. 'Dunkirk' (2017) Intense and riveting barely come close to describing this WWII epic, Nolan's shortest feature film since his first. Split across three different narratives surrounding the titular military operation, "Dunkirk" follows "Saving Private Ryan" as a summer film About Something other than popcorn entertainment. The characters are intentionally threadbare -- we relate to them via crisis points only -- and that works more than it should, thanks to the technical filmmaking forces the director has assembled on the editing and cinematography front.
3. 'Batman Begins' (2005) For the first time ever on the big screen, Batman is actually scary. That is just one of the very entertaining feats Nolan pulls off in his Batman reboot, which finally made Bruce Wayne as exciting to watch as the vigilante in the cowl. The film is also largely responsible for the last decade's "grounded" and "gritty" reboot craze.
2. 'Memento' (2001) Every studio that passed on Nolan's big break would now kill to have this film in their library. "Memento" is arguably Nolan's most complete and disciplined film; there is not an ounce of fat or indulgence present here as he explores the power memory has on shaping our lives -- even in death.
1. 'The Dark Knight' (2008) What else did you think it was gonna be? This is the comic book movie we need and deserve right now. Less reading, more watching for the fabillionth time.