Since his first film, 1998's low budget Following, Christopher Nolan has proved himself a more than capable director. Today he is one of the most influential in the industry and he has garned a loyal fan base. Even if I wouldn't classify myself as a fan of Mr Nolan there is no denying that I thoroughly enjoy his work and that is why I'm compiling this list. Bear in mind this in only my personal opinion and not a general fact. Feel free to weigh in with your own preferences regardes your favorite Nolan movie. Let the games begin.
Nolan's first feature length movie (after short Doodlebug) is a fascinating thriller that exceeds its tiny budget in terms of raw quality. Shot on a 6000$ budget, using Nolan's own friends as actors and the fact that the movie was shot on weekends during an entire year is only a few of the many interesting aspects of this movie. The story in itself is tight and suspenseful and it's presented in a great way by the non chronological narrative.
Following is by no means a bad movie but in comparison with Nolan's other movies it falls short and therefore I place it last on this list. But still, it's a great movie and I recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed any of Nolan's previous work. see more on Following
Number seven on my ranking is the 2002 thriller Insomnia starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams. The movie is a remake of the Norwegian movie from 1997 with the same title and in my opinion Nolan's version outdoes the original. Set in an amazingly beautiful looking Alaska Insomnia examine the troubled mind of the main character played to great effect by Al Pacino. For me Insomnia is a great thriller but nothing more than just that. I don't get the same awe inspiring feeling of something bigger that I get from some of Nolan's later (and earlier) work. see more on Insomnia
This is the point where all the remaining movies start to become almost impossible to list. From now on all the movies appeal to me beyond just the story and characters, because to me all the top six movies share a sense that they are something more than just your normal 2-hour "away from reality" entertainment. They want to engage you and provoke feelings, discussion and moral questions. Memento for me is like the deluxe version of Following, once again the story is centered around crime and uses non chronological narrative. The difference is that this time Nolan has the money available that allows for professional actors, effects and so on. Guy Pearce is great but the star of the movie is Dody Dorn's editing. see more on Memento
The Dark Knight Trilogy. For me and certainly a lot a other people this was the first introduction to Christopher Nolan and what an introduction it is. It's very tough to determine a favorite and least favorite chapter of the trilogy but for this list I had to and for me Batman Begins is the least remarkable of the tree. But still remarkable. After the abysmal toy commercial that was Batman & Robin this movie had to deliver in order to give the audience some faith back to Batman, and Begins certainly delivered. With a darker, more realistic tone Nolan revived Batman for a new generation of moviegoers. I love the way the origin story is handled (non chronological once again) and the emphasis on Bruce Wayne rather than his masked alter ego Batman. The reason for this ranking below Dark Knight and Rises is the somewhat smaller scale of Begins. Just as Gordon says to Batman in the last scene everything escalates in the following two movies, something I love. see more on Batman Begins