Samuel Brace on Christopher Nolan’s greatest movies…
From Memento to The Dark Knight, from Inception to Interstellar, Christopher Nolan has given the world an incredible body of work. With stories ranging from a man with no memory, a masked vigilante whose best weapon is the fear he instils in his enemies hearts and minds, to a tale of a father trying to save the human race from within a black hole. Nolan’s filmography is diverse and arguably the most consistently great collection of films by any one director. You can’t look through Nolan’s resume and pick out a bad movie, which is a rare feat in the world of filmmaking and filmmakers. However, there are four films that stand out to me personally as being truly stupendous works of art. One could have easily picked four different films for this article and not many would have complained about the choices made, and this is a prime example of what a truly impeccable director Christopher Nolan has proven to be. So with the release of his latest effort, Dunkirk, arriving on July 21, let’s delve into Christopher Nolan’s greatest movies.
“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
November 2014, one week before Rosetta landed on a comet after a 6.4 billion km journey, and a month before NASA successfully tested their Orion spacecraft, the ship that will eventually be taking humans to Mars. This was a time of anticipation for what the space community had planned, for what might be coming next, but it was also a time of disillusionment with the cosmos, of indifference to what might be waiting for us beyond our home planet. I have always been interested in space, so when news broke that director Christopher Nolan was making a film about wormholes and relativity, I for one couldn’t have been more excited.
Once I stepped out of the cinema after viewing all 2hrs and 49 minutes of Interstellar, I was left in awe, bewildered, emotionally compromised, affected in a way that no movie had ever been able to accomplish. I couldn’t believe what I had just experienced, and what an experience it was. I hadn’t just watched a film; I had consumed everything that a cinematic experience should be – the cinematography, the performances, and the epic story that resonated so resoundingly at that specific moment in time.
We have become very insular as a species, obsessed with engineering smart phones and tablets, not spacecrafts, not technologies and innovation that might one day save us. Every line that lead character Cooper (McConaughey) spoke hit home in a way that made me despise the people we have become, that had me nodding my head in agreement while Dr. Brand (Cain) was explaining the position the world had found itself in. I was on board, I was invested.
Then you have the score, the score so expertly crafted by Hans Zimmer, a masterpiece of the art form that permeated everything and everyone in its vicinity. But while the movie’s individual components were indeed sublime, the performances, the editing, so on and so forth, it was the film’s presentation as whole that wrought such a devastating impact. Interstellar left me speechless walking home that night, a night that was as clear as I had ever seen it, a night where seemingly every star in the sky was out, with shiny new worlds visible and just waiting to be explored. I was inspired.
The ambition and scope of what Nolan had achieved was beyond anything that I had ever been privileged enough to experience. “No one makes films like this” I told my brother as we strolled down the street together. Nolan has always been a pioneer, a dreamer, an extravagant and intelligent film maker, with Interstellar however he had never been more emotional and heartfelt. When Cooper uttered his departing words, “I’m coming back” to his young daughter, Murph, before leaving on his intergalactic mission, and the look on his face as he drove away from his home, from his family, into the great unknown, my eyes were wet with something awful.
And then again during that devastating scene while he watched the decades of messages from his children, now adults, now approaching his own age, after he had spent too long on a planet on the brink of a black hole, I wept. I wept silently with Cooper. I couldn’t take it, just like I couldn’t handle his now elderly daughter’s reply to being asked why she knew that her father was coming back after a lifetime of absence: “Because my dad made me a promise.” The tears were real. This was horrendous stuff but in the best possible way.
Interstellar, for me, and I know for many others, was the trip of a lifetime, more than a sci-fi film, more than just a film, it was a voyage into the unknown, a love letter to the species we should be, that we once were, that we could still be again. I was there with Cooper. I was lost in time on the other side of the universe. I was inspired. I was moved beyond words. I was affected.
Click below to continue onto the second page…