One of the best directors working today; Christopher Nolan has been responsible for some of the most intelligent and most exciting films to have been released over the past sixteen years. With his latest picture, Interstellar, out in cinema’s this Friday; I’ve decided to take a look back at five of his most goose-bump inducing moments. An effect common in the director’s films and something I like to call “the Nolan effect”.
Number 5: ““Calm down Doctor, now is not the time for fear. That comes later”
Of all the set pieces in The Dark Knight Rises, this still stands out as the best one. Through his Batman trilogy, Nolan did a great a job of introducing us to the films villains, and follows up the epic bank heist from The Dark Knight with an ariel sequence that introduces us to Bane. An advertisement for Nolan to do a James Bond film if there ever was one, the real life stunts and fantastic choreography all shot for IMAX, make the sequence make it stand out as one of the trilogy’s most memorable moments.
Number 4: “Every magic trick consists of three parts..”
The ending of The Prestige, still remains one of Christopher Nolan’s biggest and most shocking twists to date. The film charts the rivalry and obsession of two Victorian-era magicians and is told using flash-forwards and flash-backs, a common narrative structure for Nolan’s films. During the course of the story, we are told by Michael Caine’s character of Cutter, the three act structure of a magic trick. This mirrors the narrative of The Prestige and in the film’s final moments, Cutter’s speech is re-visited as Christopher Nolan reveals a twist of epic proportion.
Number 3: “Now, where was I?”
A conceptual noir, Memento is one of my personal favourites of the director’s work. A story about a man with short-term memory loss, trying to find the murderer of his wife; Nolan plays with our mind’s by not only telling the story in another backwards and forwards type narrative, but by telling it back to front as well. The film’s ending, or rather beginning, sports yet another fantastic and jaw dropping twist that changes our perception of the lead character completely. As Guy Pierce drives along accompanied with a beautifully written inner-monologue and an emotionally impactful score, the sudden stop accompanied with the above last line is absolutely genius.
Number 2: Spinning Hallway
Simply a work of art, the spinning hallway set piece in Inception is one of Nolan’s most visually exciting moments so far in his career. As he masterfully cuts between the multi-layered universe and narratives, he creates one of the most inspired action sequences in sci-fi to have ever graced the screen. Again, perfectly choreographed and scored by the famous blares of Hans Zimmer’s score; it’s a treat for the eyes and is genuinely edge of your seat exciting.
Number 1: “You complete me”
Not only is the interrogation sequence the centrepiece of The Dark Knight, but it’s the lynchpin of the whole trilogy. It’s the scene which sends our heroes down a path that carries on through right to the end of The Dark Knight Rises, as the Joker makes Batman choose between the lives of Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent. There’s a huge amount of scene’s from the film that could have taken the top spot and the “why so serious” moment came very close to doing so. However, for all of it’s simplicity, there’s a lot going on in the scene in which Batman finally comes face to face with his arch nemesis. It’s the moment where the terrifying nature of the Joker is fully realised as he seems fully immune to the brute force of the hero, and the relationship between the two is perfectly realised.
Heath Ledger’s iconic performance elevates the whole thing and as the buzzing of Hans Zimmer’s score builds, the film’s villain is revealed as the force of nature he is. A special piece of cinema, it’s enough to send shivers down your spine and therefore is my top moment in Christopher Nolan’s films.
So there you have it. That’s my list, but what would yours be? What moments have I missed? Feel free to comment below…
Next Week: The Bigger Picture: Are extended versions of The Hobbit trilogy necessary?