The Peri- and Post-Batman Eras: The Prestige, Inception, Interstellar, and Dunkirk

Welcome back to The Christopher Nolan Chronicle.  Before we dive into today’s article, the editors would like to share some unfortunate news.  Due to unforeseen budget cuts, the Chronicle will be forced to close upon the publication of this article.  It has been a pleasure evaluating the works of Christopher Nolan, and at last – after this final post – we will be able to answer, once and for all, our burning question: Was Christopher Nolan better before or after he directed the Batman films?

First, let’s start with The Prestige.

The Prestige, 2006

The Prestige is, in many ways, a quintessentially Nolan film.  It features several twists that make you question what you’ve just seen, and it has many of the cast members we often see recurring in Nolan features.  The Prestige tells the story of two magicians entangled in a years-long, intense rivalry in which they each hope to assert their magical supremacy.  The battle is fraught with obsession, lies, jealousy, and – for one of our magicians – dangerous and deadly consequences.

As usual, we’ve checked in with our friend Dylan to find out what he thought about The Prestige:

A film about illusion crafted by the master of cinematic illusion himself. The Prestige is a criminally underseen masterpiece of Christopher Nolan’s, as it was sandwiched between two Batman films, and I’m glad it’s gotten more attention as time has passed. It’s mesmerizing to see Nolan’s parallel between magician and filmmaker, as his film is designed to create a similar sense of awe and puzzlement as a magic trick itself. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are exceptional in their roles, hammering home the profound themes of rivalry, obsession, and toxic ambition. On the surface, the film is exhilarating and engaging, but as you peel back the layers, you realize how deeply tragic it is, and its final moments are bound to send goosebumps up the arm. To me, The Prestige was Nolan’s greatest illusion yet, and perfectly encompasses everything he does so well, from his attention to detail, non-linear storytelling, impeccable design, masterclass performances, and compelling dialogue. It could’ve been a mess in the wrong director’s hands, but Nolan shuffles every card in the deck perfectly. Abracadabra.

We rated it 8.5 / 10 | Dylan rated it: 10 / 10

Inception, 2010

Inception is arguably the most visually-interesting film Nolan has ever created.  Despite this film coming out now ten years ago, the visual effects and CGI hold up very well.  It is another film in which we see the story beats Nolan likes to include in many of his movies, namely here we have an ambiguous ending that makes us question the main character’s motivations throughout the entirety of the film’s events.  Interestingly, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in this movie has a last name of Cobb, the same last name as the sneaky burglar our protagonist teams up with in Following.  Does that mean anything?  Who knows.  But it’s something.

Let’s see what Dylan thought about Nolan’s mind-bending dreamscape:

Inception is first and foremost a visual masterclass. The sheer enormity of it all is hypnotizing. Every set piece is stunning, particularly the spinning hallway that leaves me astounded every time. I do think the film feels a tad excessive in its exposition and explanation, but given how intelligent the writing and unique the concepts are, the wordiness is almost welcome. No single actor overshadows the other, as they work cohesively as an ensemble, embracing the nature of the mission being a team effort. For a film as bloated as Inception, it’s surprising how quick the runtime flies by, with Hans Zimmer’s killer score fueling the pacing and tension building of the entire piece. There’s no other film like it, and if I had to name one single work to describe Nolan’s style and brilliance in a nutshell, this is the most Nolan of them all.

We rated it: 9 / 10 | Dylan rated it: 9 / 10

And now we move on to the Post-Batman Era.

Interstellar, 2014

Now we move into the Post-Batman Era.  First up, Nolan’s space opera starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.  Interstellar‘s story chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

Dylan wrote about Nolan’s out of this world drama:

Interstellar is Nolan’s biggest endeavor to date, but his style and “outside the box” thinking really caters the conceptual side of the film nicely. I do acknowledge some of the issues with the third act, but some convoluted plot holes aren’t enough to undermine just how powerful Interstellar is on both a visual and emotional level. It’s by far Nolan’s most sentimental, and the scene where Coop looks through his video messages, watching life literally pass him by before his very eyes is the only Nolan moment that makes me openly sob, let alone shed a tear. The sheer ambition of Interstellar is what reels me in every time. The size of it, the scale of it, the gorgeous Hoyte van Hoytema cinematography, paired with Hans Zimmer’s beautifully daunting organ score. I’m frustrated at myself for never seeing this in a theatre. One of the most impressive science-fiction epics of our generation, and Nolan’s most endearing despite its imperfections.

We rated it: 7.5 / 10 | Dylan rated it: 9 / 10

Dunkirk, 2017

The latest film Christopher Nolan has directed, excluding his 2020 outing, TENET, is the World War II epic, Dunkirk.  This movie tells the amazing true story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain, Canada, and France.  These soldiers were cut off and surrounded by the German army from the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk between May 26th and June 4th, 1940.  Dunkirk earned Nolan three Academy Awards in technical achievements and another 5 Oscar nominations.

Dylan’s review of Dunkirk is too long to re-publish here, but suffice it to say, his four-paragraph review is full of high praise for Nolan’s achievements in this film.

We rated it: 7.5 / 10 | Dylan Rated it: 9 / 10

That’s a Wrap!

We now know that the Pre-Batman Era of Nolan’s filmography started off quite strong, with an average rating for his first three features coming in at 8.16 / 10. We also know that the Batman Era came in with an average rating of  7.67 / 10.  And now, we’ve determined that the Peri-Batman Era (The Prestige and Inception) scored an average 8.75 and the Post-Batman Era (Interstellar and Dunkirk) scored an average 7.5 / 10.

The Final Question

So, the question remains, was Christopher Nolan better before or after he directed the Batman films?  Well, that remains to be seen.  Given that the Pre-Batman Era has a comparable score to that of the Peri-Batman Era and the Post-Batman Era has a comparable score to the actual Batman Era, it seems like Nolan is a generally consistent filmmaker.

So now, we turn the question over to you all.  What do you think?  What era was the best for our father who art in cinema?  Do you have a favorite era?  Let us know in the comments and on social!

TENET TALK: New Posters for Nolan’s Latest Film

Welcome back to The Christopher Nolan Chronicle.  Today we are taking a slight break from our usual programming to bring you an update on our father who art in cinema’s latest film: TENET.  Special thanks to Hoai-Tran at SlashFilm for compiling these posters for us so we can analyze them.  Let’s take a look.

Tenet Posters Featuring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson

The first few posters feature the two main characters in the film, The Protagonist and The Protagonist’s Handler (Neil), portrayed by John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, respectively.  These are some slick and stylized posters featuring key moments from the trailer that first dropped way back in January this year.  Next up we have a few posters showing the characters individually, two featuring John David Washington and one featuring Robert Pattinson.

Tenet Posters Featuring Elizabeth Debicki

Elizabeth Debicki plays Katherine Barton, an art appraiser and the estranged wife of another character, Andrei Sator.  She gets two posters of her own here, and is featured in the background of one of John David Washington’s posters above.

Tenet Posters Featuring Kenneth Branaugh and a Mystery Man

These last two posters show Kenneth Branaugh, who plays Andrei Sator and a mystery man.  Who do you think this mystery man is?  What do you think his role is?  Let us know your theories in the comments.

Some Final International Posters

As you may have noticed, some of these posters are for international marketing of the film, and we thought it would be cool to highlight some non-western marketing materials since TENET was initially released outside of the U.S. and U.K. markets.  Take a look at these posters from the Chinese market.

Share Your Thoughts on these TENET Posters

Which poster is your favorite?  Do you plan to see TENET now that it’s in theaters stateside?  Let us know your theories in the comments below!

The Batman Era: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

Welcome back to The Christopher Nolan Chronicle, today we are discussing the Batman Era of Nolan’s filmography.  In the seven-year span between and including 2005 and 2012, Christopher Nolan changed every nerd and neckbeard’s life by creating what has since come to be the definitive live-action Batman franchise.  The first entry in the trilogy, Batman Begins, came out in 2005, introducing Christian Bale’s take on Gotham’s caped crusader.  The Dark Knight was released three years later in 2008, featuring a now-immortalized Joker performance by the irreplaceable Heath Ledger.  To cap off the trilogy, Nolan released The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, tying off some loose ends and feeding the audience just a few breadcrumbs to leave us wondering.

Once again, we will be featuring comments by Dylan R., a friend of the Chronicle, as a benchmark to gauge our own feelings about our Founding Father’s Filmography.

As we continue our quest to discover whether Nolan was better before or after he directed the Batman movies, we can’t ignore the inarguable turning point in his career as a director.  First up, Batman Begins.

Batman Begins, 2005

Batman Begins is, first and foremost, an origin story.  Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered outside of a theater, you know the drill.  The real origin of Batman in Nolan’s Begins comes after Bruce’s time training with the League of Shadows with Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul.  He’s gone for seven years, his childhood best friend thinks he’s dead, but then he comes back, intent on Fighting Crime™ and cleaning up Gotham’s mob problem.  Meanwhile, a sinister psychologist, Dr. Jonathan Crane is testing an airborne version of a psychosis-inducing hallucinogen to put into the city’s water supply, eventually causing mass hysteria. Thus, The Batman is born.

Batman Begins is a strong introduction to a new take on a familiar hero, and while I don’t think origin stories are inherently uninteresting, there was a lot about this that felt underwhelming on this rewatch.  Rachel Dawes is the only major female character in this story and she has very little autonomy.  Katie Holmes gives a great performance, as she almost always does, but Rachel as a character lacks complexity.  She is very simply a good person driven to do good things, but many of the good things she does are inspired or instructed by other (male) characters.  The one time she might do something morally questionable (shooting a thug who is attempting to bully a child after mugging his parents), Batman swoops in and saves her before she has to sacrifice her ethics.

Overall, Batman Begins features strong performances, excellent production design and special effects, and a well-told story with tight pacing.  Bruce definitely grows as a character but the simplistic motivations of his accomplices and the lack of a focused antagonist (no villain in the first act, and two different villains in the second and third acts) leave a few loosely-sewn threads.

Let’s see what Dylan said about Batman Begins:

I’m embarrassed it took me this long to finally watch Batman Begins, but I was so content with The Dark Knight that I never sought out what came before. Moral of the story: I’m dumb. This movie is awesome. Batman Begins may hit some familiar origin story beats, but because of its darker, grittier nature, it feels unique and fresh within the genre, and gives some real weight to Bruce Wayne’s self discovery throughout. Christopher Nolan’s attention to detail serves the film well, especially with all the intricate gadgets and technology. Despite the film’s darker nature, Nolan finds ways to pepper in some great comedy and sentimentality throughout as well, especially with Michael Caine’s flawless portrayal of butler Alfred and Morgan Freeman’s delightfully witty Lucius Fox. The low point is Katie Holmes’ performance as Rachel Dowes and not enough of Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow, but those qualms still don’t drag the film down too much. An origin done so right, with a chilling final scene that ought to have everyone pissing their pants in excitement for what comes next.

We rate it: 7.5 / 10 | Dylan rates it: 9/10

The Dark Knight, 2008

In what in the age of the MCU feels like a long wait, the second installment in Nolan’s Batman trilogy came three years after its predecessor.  The Dark Knight is easily the most-loved entry into the franchise, by and large because of a homerun Joker performance by everyone’s favorite 90s heartthrob, gay rancher, and fake knight: Heath Ledger.  In The Dark Knight, Bruce has been romping around as Batman for a hot minute, but the streets still aren’t clean.  While the Joker is cavorting around Gotham turning various mob members against each other, Bruce is struggling with his childhood best friend and former crush Rachel, now dating Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent.  Harvey is a perfect match for Rachel because they both are just really good people™.  Such good people, in fact, that when the Joker threatens to regularly kill people of Gotham until Batman reveals himself, Harvey falls on his sword for his city.  And, uh, selfish baby Bruce (don’t worry, it’s part of his character development) just lets him.

The Dark Knight is beloved for good reason.  The characters are strong and complex, the pacing is tight, the writing is excellent, the cinematography is beautiful, the list goes on.  Heath Ledger gives such an astounding performance as the Joker that every scene without him in it pales in comparison.  The sound design in this film particularly (but really in the whole trilogy) is impeccable, and the score, while standard Hans Zimmer fare, its used with intention.  The best part, for me, is that The Dark Knight stands on its own as a Batman film.  There are things for which we have added context having seen Batman Begins, but nothing about what happens in this movie absolutely requires that you know the last entry by heart.  And that is what makes an excellent sequel.  Oh yeah, and Rachel is now played by Maggie Gyllenhaal for…. reasons.

Now that all that gushing is out of the way.  Let’s turn it over to Dylan:

There’s not much else to say about The Dark Knight that hasn’t been said. Heath Ledger is absolutely astounding and might give my favorite performance of all time, though I do feel the rest of the ensemble deserves their due as well: Christian Bale commands the screen once again, especially in his newly improved Bat-wear; Maggie Gyllenhaal is an improved casting choice as Rachel Dawes; Aaron Eckhart shows a great emotional journey as Harvey Dent; standouts from the last film like Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Michael Caine all give fantastic performances once again. It’s my favorite Batman film, my favorite DC film, and my favorite comic book film. I’m pretty sure after this Nolan binge is over, it’ll remain as my favorite work of his as well. It’s the film that made me see movies beyond entertainment, examining them through deeper lenses. I find the same excitement now as I did the first time, and every rewatch since. 

We rate it: 8.5 / 10 | Dylan rates it: 10/10

The Dark Knight Rises, 2012

In yet another excruciatingly long wait by today’s comic book adaptation standards, The Dark Knight Rises came out a brutal four years after its genre-defying predecessor.  This film – as would any film – suffers in perceived quality largely because it immediately succeeded one of the best superhero films ever made, and almost undoubtedly the best Batman film ever made (sorry, George Clooney).  Unfortunately, even when viewed without The Dark Knight tinted glasses, there’s still a lot working against this film despite all it has going for it.

It’s been seven years since the end of The Dark Knight and Batman has all but abandoned Gotham because new legislation allowed the city’s law enforcement to get rid of organized crime once and for all.  But then some dude with a voice modulator kidnaps a nuclear physicist and threatens to blow Gotham off the face of the in-universe Earth.  Time for the Batman to come out of the cave.  We’re set up to believe that Bane, otherwise known as The Mercenary, is the primary antagonist of this film, but really, Batman has a lot of little enemies to fight on his come-up.  Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman is working with various baddies to get access to a technology known as the Clean Slate, which has the ability to completely erase someone’s identity from all databases.  Dr. Crane (yep, he’s still here) has taken over the courts and is sentencing people to death and/or exile and/or death by exile, and oh yeah, Ra’s al Ghul is involved in this, somehow.  All the while, we’re following a fresh-faced young Gotham City Police Officer who just really wants to do the right thing!  This film is …. a little distracted.

The Dark Knight Rises comes in at twenty minutes longer than its two predecessors but feels about 45 minutes longer than it needs to be.  It’s very clear that Nolan knew what he wanted to do with all the characters he featured, but the problem is that he probably featured too many things, and therefore, none of these various interwoven storylines got the attention they deserved.  The editing is messy, the pacing is inconsistent, and score feels like Zimmer composed it in his sleep.  The Dark Knight would always be a tough act to follow, but Rises didn’t do itself any favors.

Let’s see how Dylan felt:

I can acknowledge the obvious criticisms of The Dark Knight Rises, but still feel incredibly fulfilled every time I watch it. It is heavily overstuffed, and its brisk pacing rarely gives time to breathe, but there is something so admirable about the scale of the film. Its style feels more like an “epic” than any of Nolan’s other Batman films, and Hans Zimmer’s anthemic score fits like a glove. Anne Hathaway follows Michelle Pfeiffer’s footsteps in making Catwoman the absolute best part of the film, as she steals every scene she’s in. Tom Hardy had the difficult task of stepping up as the new Batman baddie following Heath Ledger’s legendary turn as the Joker, but he gives a really grounded, menacing performance as Bane, another true highlight of the film. The action is the best of the trilogy, and there is some truly rich emotion throughout, particularly with Alfred’s character and in the film’s final moments. Batman himself isn’t as present as the previous films, but it’s intriguing to see Bruce Wayne’s rise from “zero to hero,” and when Batman returns, he is better than ever. The film is messy, it’s heavy, it’s a bit chaotic, but Nolan really transformed the world of Gotham into something so special and new, and gritty as ever, and there’s no denying how impactful his trilogy was to the future of comic book cinema. I thoroughly enjoy it.

We rate it: 7.0 / 10 | Dylan rates it: 8 / 10

That’s a Wrap!

We now know that the Pre-Batman Era of Nolan’s filmography started off quite strong, with an average rating for his first three features coming in at 8.16 / 10.  The Batman Era showed what might be considered, up to this point, the maximum potential of what Christopher Nolan has to offer, but it also showed how creativity may stagnate when he spends too much time working on one property.  Batman Begins gave us a character study on Bruce Wayne as he became the Batman.  The Dark Knight showed us how engrossing and genre-defying a one-shot superhero film can really be.  The Dark Knight Rises provided a lot of spectacle, courtesy of Heinz Field and the City of Pittsburgh, PA, but ultimately felt like it was in a hurry to wrap certain things up and still tell a cool story, when it probably should have just picked one.

The average rating for The Batman Era of Nolan’s filmography comes in at 7.67 / 10.

Stay tuned next week as The Christopher Nolan Chronicle tackles the inbetweeners, the films that came out while the Batman films were being released, the Peri-Batman Period.

Sources Consulted:

Randazzo, D. (2020 August 10). Nolanography: The Road to Tenet (?) #4 [Review of the movie Batman Begins, by director C. Nolan]. Retrieved from

Randazzo, D. (2020 August 15). Nolanography: The Road to Tenet (?) #6 [Review of the movie The Dark Knight, by director C. Nolan]. Retrieved from

Randazzo, D. (2020 August 18). Nolanography: The Road to Tenet (?) #8 [Review of the movie The Dark Knight Rises, by director C. Nolan]. Retrieved from

The Pre-Batman Era: Following, Memento, and Insomnia

Welcome back to The Christopher Nolan Chronicle, today we are discussing the Pre-Batman Era of Nolan’s filmography.  In the four-year span between and including 1998 and 2002, Christopher Nolan directed his first feature-length film, Following, the mind-bending mystery, Memento, and the psychological thriller, Insomnia.  In an effort to ensure The Christopher Nolan Chronicle maintains its reputation as an unbiased publication, we have consulted the reviews of Dylan R., a film fan from New York City, as a benchmark against which to compare our own findings.

In pursuit of our quest to answer whether Nolan was better before or after he directed the Batman films, it only makes sense to start at the beginning.  First up, Following.

Following, 1998

Christopher Nolan’s Following follows Bill as he follows random people around London.  Are you following?  The film is shot in black and white on 16mm, which was the most expensive part of the film’s $6,000 USD budget.  Coming in with a 69-minute runtime, the pacing in Following is deliberate and precise.    Nolan wastes no time on overlong character backstory and nixes any setpieces that aren’t strictly necessary to tell the story he wants to tell.  Despite that seemingly short runtime, the film makes room for not one, not two, but three plot twists, and none of them feel cheap or unearned.

Dylan R. writes about Nolan’s Following:

Following is an impressive debut from Christopher Nolan, and a great example in creating something meaningful with practically zero budget. We see so many glimpses of what Nolan’s career would eventually grow to become: brisk pacing, darker tones, unique editing, and great attention to detail. Whereas other filmmakers would feel restraint with a budget like this, Nolan uses it to his advantage and the film has a very raw feel because of its few takes, natural costuming and set design, and imperfect sound mixing. It has its faults, and may even be the least memorable of Nolan’s large-scale body of work, but it is still something special and incredibly promising.

The Chronicle could not agree more with Dylan’s assessment of Nolan’s debut feature film, but would like to add nuance to one particular line Dylan mentions.  Following may not be Nolan’s least memorable film for any inherent faults within the picture itself, but rather because it lacks the larger-than-life setpieces, dramatic reveals, and flourishes that would appear as soon as his next film, two years later, in Memento.  Following is an innocuous picture that doesn’t stand out, not because it’s bad, but because it doesn’t resort to major theatrics to tell its story.

We rate it: 7.5 / 10 | Dylan Rates it: 7 / 10

Memento, 2000

In his next feature-length outing, Christopher Nolan takes on a mind-bending, time-bending mystery starring Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby, a widower with a memory problem trying to track down his wife’s rapist and murderer.  It’s not Amnesia, though, Leonard would like you to know.  He can recall everything up to the event of his wife’s death, but cannot store new memories he has made since then.  He knows what he has to do and why, but can’t remember how he got to where he is or where he’s going next.  Memento tells one story in two halves, with alternating scenes taking place in alternating moments of Leonard’s chronology.  The jarring nature of this storytelling serves its purpose, as Nolan confuses his audience just enough to disorient them much like Leonard’s disorientation, but not enough so that the picture is convoluted and unwatchable.

It’s hard to discuss what makes this movie so great without getting into spoiler territory, so let’s just see what Dylan has to say:

Memento is one of a kind. Nolan really perfected non-linear storytelling that doesn’t feel gimmicky, but instead effectively conveys the fragmented headspace of Guy Pearce’s character, constantly trying to put clues together to find answers in this never-ending spiral of unknowingness. Not only is it beautifully structured, but it has some deeply effective tragedy throughout. With more of a budget than his debut, Nolan showed just how powerful his artistic eye could be, with some stunning imagery and attention to detail throughout. Nolan would go for bigger spectacle later in his career, but Memento may impress me more because of how engrossing it is on its concept and narrative structure alone, not relying on a plethora of special effects to enhance it. I find myself even more engaged with every rewatch, discovering more and more little twists and tricks along the way. One of Nolan’s best.

We would like to echo Dylan’s assessment that Memento is particularly impressive for what Nolan was able to accomplish on a still-minimal budget (albeit larger than what he had for Following).  Also, as Dylan mentions, there are few, if any, special effects present in this film, with Nolan relying solely on the strength of his narrative storytelling, deliberate editing, and intentional cinematography.  He gives us just enough to be half a step ahead of Leonard, but not enough to see anything more coming.

We rate it: 9 / 10 | Dylan rates it: 10 / 10

Insomnia, 2002

In the last of the Pre-Batman Era of Christopher Nolan’s career, we examine Insomnia, a psychological crime thriller starring Al Pacino in one of the last fully-conscious performances he would give until 2019’s The IrishmanInsomnia is one of the few Nolan-directed pictures that was not, wholly or in part, written by himself and/or his brother Jonathan, and it does feel that way at times.  Based on a Norwegian Nordic-noir of the same name, directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, the dialogue is, at times, cliche for anyone familiar with the morally-ambiguous hard-boiled detective tropes, and Hillary Swank, playing one of only three living women in this film, is forgettable.  That said, Al Pacino and Robin Williams chemistry (even in scenes where they do not appear on screen together) and the technical aspects of this film, like the cinematography and editing more than make up for generic character work and merely decent screenwriting.

Let’s see what Dylan thought about Nolan’s Insomnia:

I think Insomnia is definitely an underrated work in Nolan’s resume. It is his most straightforward piece, and perhaps his least “unique” on a creative scale—this could be due to its screenplay being the only one not written by Nolan himself—though I believe it’s well directed, and certainly well acted. Robin Williams is definitely the highlight, as I loved seeing him play something so far from his wheelhouse. The use of scenery and atmosphere is impressive, with some gorgeous cinematography capturing Alaska’s vast, foggy landscapes. Insomnia works well as a crime thriller, but even better as a character study, as the exploration into Al Pacino’s character’s psyche is rather fascinating, dealing with guilt, reputation, and secret-keeping in a very profound way. There’s nothing particularly new about Insomnia’s style or structure (compared to something like Memento), but that only brings more emphasis to Nolan’s abilities in other areas, as there truly is a multitude of strengths when it comes to his direction. Insomnia may not be one of Nolan’s upper-tier works, or his most memorable, but is still special in its own right, and still gives us one hell of a Nolan ending, thematic and resonant as expected.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.  The Chronicle believes Insomnia‘s greatest strengths are its two male leads, Robin Williams and Al Pacino, and the cinematography only serves to emphasize the mental struggles these characters are facing.  And, while we concede Hillary Swank’s character, Detective Ellie Burr, could have been more fleshed out, it is understandable that she is somewhat forgettable given that the story focuses on Pacino’s Detective Dormer hunting for Williams’s Walter Finch.  As Dylan said, Insomnia is hardly Nolan’s most creative work, but it is, without a doubt, well-made and extremely well-performed.

We rate it: 8 / 10 | Dylan rates it: 8 / 10

That’s a Wrap!

This concludes the Pre-Batman Era of Christopher Nolan’s filmography.  Three very distinct works, each showing off a few of the creative sensibilities Nolan harnesses as a director.  In Following, we see what Nolan can do with a minimal budget and deliberate editing choices.  In Memento, we learn more about Nolan’s fascination with character motivations and, no spoilers, ambiguous endings.  And, in Insomnia, we see what Nolan can do with the financial support of a big studio budget, visionary cinematographers, and, most importantly, an extremely talented cast.

The average rating for the Pre-Batman Era stands at 8.16 / 10.

Stay tuned to the next issue of The Christopher Nolan Chronicle to find out what we think about the most infamous era of Nolan’s career: The Batman Era.

Sources Consulted:

Randazzo, D. (2020 August 10). Nolanography: The Road to Tenet (?) #1 [Review of the movie Following, by director C. Nolan]. Retrieved from

Randazzo, D. (2020 August 15). Nolanography: The Road to Tenet (?) #2 [Review of the movie Memento, by director C. Nolan]. Retrieved from

Randazzo, D. (2020 August 18). Nolanography: The Road to Tenet (?) #3 [Review of the movie Insomnia, by director C. Nolan]. Retrieved from

Welcome to the Christopher Nolan Chronicle

Who is Christopher Nolan?

First and foremost, we at The Christopher Nolan Chronicle pride ourselves on our merciful nature and therefore will forgive you for asking the above question.  We also understand that a simple introduction can be a wonderful place to start when beginning a new relationship.  So, allow us to introduce our muse, our role model, our father who art in cinema — Christopher Edward Nolan, CBE.

Christopher Nolan received his formal education at University College London, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature while simultaneously acting as president of the Union’s Film Society, producing and screening 35mm films during the school year as a means to fund the production of 16mm films during the summers.

In 1998, Nolan produced his first feature-length film: Following, on a meager budget of approximately $4,000 USD.  The success of Following allowed him to create his next project, Memento, released in 2000.  After the come-from-nowhere successes of Following and Memento, fellow filmmaker Stephen Soderbergh recruited Nolan via Soderbergh’s production company, Section Eight Productions to create InsomniaInsomnia also received high praise, even from Erik Skjoldbjærg, the director of the original 1997 Norwegian film.

After Insomnia, Nolan got the green light to begin production on his grounded, realistic Batman origin story.  This is perhaps the most well-known era of his filmmaking career, with the Batman trilogy grossing over $2.4 Billion at the Box Office, and another blockbuster hit, Inception, being released during his stint at the helm of the Batman trilogy, itself grossing over $830 Million at the Box Office.

Since the Batman trilogy, Christopher Nolan momentarily moved away from the grounded nature of his Batman films, releasing Interstellar, an epic Science-Fiction Space Opera, in 2014.  He quickly came back down to earth, however, directing the World War II epic, Dunkirk in 2017.

Over the twenty-year span of his professional filmmaking career, Christopher Nolan’s films have been nominated for a whopping 515 awards – 186 of which he has won.  These include five Academy Award nominations, Five British Academy Film Awards, and six Golden Globe Awards.

What is The Christopher Nolan Chronicle?

As the first director-specific film blog to be established in the post-apocalyptic era known as the second half of 2020, The Christopher Nolan Chronicle has a big responsibility to bear for the cinephile community – and we take that responsibility very seriously.  In a time where freedom of the press is being threatened by the powers that be, film fans everywhere need a safe place to discuss the most pressing artistic question of our time: Was Christopher Nolan better before or after he did the Batman movies?

The Christopher Nolan Chronicle seeks to answer that question by taking a systematic approach to the filmography of one of the most revered directors of our time.  Our publication will explore the director’s evolution as a filmmaker by dividing his career into four distinct periods:

  1. The Pre-Batman Period: This period covers the three feature-length films Christopher Nolan directed before the release of Batman Begins.  These films are Following (1998), Memento (2000), and Insomnia (2002).
  2. The Batman Period: As can be inferred, this period covers all three films in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.  Released in 2005, 2008, and 2012, respectively, these films are Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises.
  3. The Peri-Batman Period: This period covers the two feature-length films Christopher Nolan directed which were released concurrently with his Batman trilogy.  These films are The Prestige (2006) and Inception (2010).
  4. The Post-Batman Period: This period covers the two feature-length films Christopher Nolan directed after the Batman trilogy was complete.  These films are Interstellar (2014) and Dunkirk (2017).

Please note, the columnists here at The Christopher Nolan Chronicle very much value their safety and untainted oxygen, and thus will not be reviewing the director’s 2020 release, Tenet, unless and until it becomes available for an at-home, on-demand viewing experience.

The Previews Are Over, Let the Show Begin

Now that the formal introductions are done, we can get this show on the road.  Subscribe to The Christopher Nolan Chronicle to stay up to date on blockbuster films that you’ve probably already seen as we try to answer the question: Was Christopher Nolan better before or after he did the Batman movies?

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