Finally saw Tenet (and Nolan films ranked)

TheSword

Legend
Interstellar is definately the best one... particularly if it leads to some weird cognitive dissonance with the Martian.

The soundtrack alone is stunning. Great video below...

 
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GreyLord

Legend
One of my favorite parts of Interstellar is docking...when the main character basically says they aren't doing what is possible, but what is necessary.

The music and the animation/film onscreen is stunning. I can watch it over and over even without watching the main movie itself.

Docking

Not as awesome as in theater, but still awesome...
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
What makes Inception great isn't about how deep or intricate it is, plotwise. All the gimmicks (dream logic, backwards time, etc.) are just excuses for neat action set pieces to build the tension for the personal drama, which Inception has in spades and Tenet... doesn't (it doesn't help that also Inception has an infinitely better score; I can't remember a single tune or melody from Tenet, but the years since I've seen Inception those iconic Zimmer intense crescendos and tender piano melodies are forever burned in my brain; to be fair Goransson is an great composer in his right (he's almost got an EGOT for a reason) but not everybody can be Hans Zimmer).

Inception is about dealing with grief and rebuilding broken families (Fischer's reconciliation with his dead father mirroring Cobb's reconciliation with his dead wife, neither of which are actually real) and a lot of really attractive men in suits.

Tenet is about... saving the world from... a time macguffin? And maybe accepting mortality, maybe? Also, far fewer really attractive men in suits for far less of the runtime.
 

TheSword

Legend
One of my favorite parts of Interstellar is docking...when the main character basically says they aren't doing what is possible, but what is necessary.

The music and the animation/film onscreen is stunning. I can watch it over and over even without watching the main movie itself.

Docking

Not as awesome as in theater, but still awesome...
Awesome and beautiful. I love the image of the station revolving, the module revolving and the planet below too, all at different speeds as the module begins to match the speed and it syncs.

The linked video was taking about them performing that piece on the church organ with the pipes sounding like exhalation. A human like sound in every note. It’s perfect!

Also a film with perfectly pitched robot comedy... similar to Rogue one. Getting empathy from me for a robot is a rare thing.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
What makes Inception great isn't about how deep or intricate it is, plotwise. All the gimmicks (dream logic, backwards time, etc.) are just excuses for neat action set pieces to build the tension for the personal drama, which Inception has in spades and Tenet... doesn't (it doesn't help that also Inception has an infinitely better score; I can't remember a single tune or melody from Tenet, but the years since I've seen Inception those iconic Zimmer intense crescendos and tender piano melodies are forever burned in my brain; to be fair Goransson is an great composer in his right (he's almost got an EGOT for a reason) but not everybody can be Hans Zimmer).

Inception is about dealing with grief and rebuilding broken families (Fischer's reconciliation with his dead father mirroring Cobb's reconciliation with his dead wife, neither of which are actually real) and a lot of really attractive men in suits.

Tenet is about... saving the world from... a time macguffin? And maybe accepting mortality, maybe? Also, far fewer really attractive men in suits for far less of the runtime.
I haven't seen Tenet, but I've never managed to get through Inception.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Ok, most of you have poor judgement if you can't see that Memento is one of the best movies of all time. ;)

So perhaps I should explain my inarguable ratings! First, I should say that IMO, no Nolan movie is a bad Nolan movie. Nolan is one of a very few directors that, at a minimum, has something interesting in all of their movies; Scorsese, the Andersons (Wes and P.T.), Tarantino, Coen Brothers, Fincher ... so many more. It doesn't mean that everyone finds all of their movies equally interesting; some people can't stand Tarantino (too pop, too violent) just as some can't stand West Anderson (too twee, too mannered), but they all have something interesting to say.

Yes, there are certain things that you often find in most Nolan movies- a Hans Zimmer score. Michael Caine. Tom Hardy. The plot unfolding in a strange manner (often with some element of a "puzzle," that usually involves time in some fashion). A meta-element, wherein the film elements (including the score) and the plot itself in someway reflect each other.

But the movies themselves are usually quite different visually and thematically; it's not like he's Wes Anderson with an easily parodied style. Dunkirk is not Interstellar is not Inception is not The Prestige is not Memento; while each of them use "Nolan-y" techniques, they are, quite clearly, a WW2 Film; a post-apocalyptic meditation on love, loss, and sacrifice; a mind-bending thriller; a period piece about truth, deception, and art; and a B&W 'art' film that is a shocking 'M. Night' twist-y puzzlebox.

So- the list!


1. The Prestige
I don't know how any movie could be better. It is, IMO, the height of Nolan- and allow me to explain. Nolan has made films that are more technically proficient. He has made films that are mentally taxing to understand. He has made more accessible films. He has had better acting in some of his films. But this film ... it has two things that no other Nolan film can match. First, it hit the sweet spot. It is the perfect blend of story, acting, technical proficiency, and twisty plot ... without any aspect overshadowing the others. In other words, it achieves a balance that none of his other films quite has between technical proficiency and emotional resonance, audience accessibility and mental gymnastics, without going too far overboard in one direction or another. Yes, it is "show-y," but not overwhelmingly so.

Second, while it works amazingly well just on the surface, this movie rewards repeated viewings. Nolan uses the artifice of the plot (about magic) to both explain the process of what the magicians are going through as well as to explain what you, the viewer, are going through. It's a magic trick that is explained to you, while you are watching it. Of course, the joy is realizing that the movie, about magic (and perfectly serviceable as such) isn't about "magic" at all, necessarily, but about film, creation, and the lies we tell to each other and to ourselves.


2. Memento
Briefly- without Memento, there is no Nolan as we know him now. Memento, in many ways, suffers from the Citizen Kane effect; if you watch Citizen Kane now, because so much of it has been aped by other directors and other films for decades, you don't even realize the profound influence it has had on film grammar. I can remember watching Memento in the theater when it came out, and being blown away ... absolutely shell-shocked. Yes, there were a lot of other inventive films coming out then (Run Lola Run was two years before, Pulp Fiction was six years before, Pi was two years prior, Barton Fink by the Coen Brothers was in 1991, etc.), but Memento was a statement film, and incredibly self-assured for his second "real" film.


3. Dunkirk
I rank this so highly for one reason- it's a great war film, and the "gimmick" doesn't overwhelm it.

...or maybe it's because I saw it in a glorious IMAX theater. That helped, too. :) Seriously, though, it was a great use of his technique in service to, rather than overwhelming, the subject matter.

4. The Dark Knight
If this isn't the best "superhero," film, it is certainly up there. I don't really have much else to add to add. It's not just a great superhero movie, it's a great movie.

5. Inception
This movie may be the one that has lost esteem because it's so overdone, but show it to someone who has never seen it before and it is magic. Again, there is true emotion in this film, great acting, and amazing action .

6. Tenet
I may have to see this again. I saw this in the theater during COVID- I had a "pod" rent out a theater before it was shut down. It was really good. This is one of those movies that is almost Kubrick-ian; you can appreciate the coldness, and even understand the choices that led to it, but you don't necessarily love it.

That's how I feel about this movie; I admire it, but I don't love it. I enjoyed it, but I also haven't thought that much about it ... unlike the first five movies.

7. Following
His first film. You can see the elements of "Nolan" there already- but the lack of budget, "lesser" actors, and short run-time make it more of a curiosity than an absolute "must-see."


8. Insomnia
Pacino. Robin Williams. Hillary Swank. Nolan directs a Hollywood thriller. This is the least Nolan-y of Nolan's films. But it is also both quite good on its own, and also provides evidence that Nolan is fully able to do a "normal movie."


9. Interstellar
This might be the second-most contentious of my rankings. Some people love this movie. It's ... fine. For me, it never cohered. It is achingly beautiful, agonizingly melodic, and an amazing achievement that (for me) never rose above a stilted homage to the crib notes to 2001. At all times, it feels like Nolan is much more interested in the visuals than the ideas in this movie, and for that reason, I just felt that the movie itself was similar to a late-night pot-smoking binge in college; a lot of seeming profundity that disappears when the lights come up.

All that said, I wouldn't argue with people that rate it more highly. They'd be wrong, because I am right, but I wouldn't argue with them. :)


10. Dark Knight Rises
11 Batman Begins

Good movies. Great superhero movies (like being the tallest leprechaun). But Batman Begins did not resurrect the superhero movie (if anything did, that was Raimi's Spiderman in 2002). Dark Knight Rises was full of some interesting ideas, and some worldbuilding that never paid off (Joseph Gordon-Levitt???). But while the Dark Knight is, arguably, a truly great movie qua movie, these are just good movies, and great superhero movies. They are more akin to Insomnia than to the remainder of his oeuvre.
 



LoganRan

Explorer
The Prestige is the only movie I have ever immediately re-watched after the credits rolled.

For me, it had the same "Whoa!" moment that the Matrix provided when you find out...well, you know...but since the Matrix had its big reveal in the middle of the movie I had already processed the idea, the big reveal at the end of the Prestige required me to go back and watch again to fully take it all in.

Unfortunately, for all the folks who would make more money had I seen the movie in the theater and had to pay for a second viewing, I watched the movie on disc at home. ;)
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
Nolan is my Cannoli.
For me, I loved The Prestige.
Memento and Inception were interesting. I'd watch them again.
I have not seen Insomnia.
The rest can all die in a fire. I didn't think anyone could screw up Batman more than $&%&^ Tim Burton, but I was wrong.
 

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