Mement-who? The five Christopher Nolan films every UCL student must see
While the name Chris Nolan may be (too) well known, some of his films may not be. So here at The Buzz, we serve to enlighten your cinematic knowledge by presenting Nolan’s best ever films.
As one of our most famous alumni, Chris Nolan has steadily become an icon in the world of film. But it remains a big shame that not all the work of this great director has been fully appreciated. This is the list of the Nolan films that every UCL student must watch, or accept the consequences (there aren’t any, but they’re seriously good films so watch them).
1. ‘Memento’ (2000):
Memento is the story of a man who cannot form new memories or learn anything new. Or as any student would call it, ‘revision’. This entertaining and clever film uses a crazy concept of time and two linked storylines to create a thriller that keeps the audience on their toes. Although the film’s cast may not be as recognisable as some of Nolan's blockbusters (highlights being ‘Trinity’ from The Matrix and some guy who was on Neighbours once), it more than makes up for this.
2. ‘Batman Begins’ (2005):
The beginning of Nolan’s love affair with both Christian Bale and Michael Caine, Batman Begins was perhaps the origin of endless ‘gritty reboots’ that now swarm cinema screens (seriously, think of any franchise re-launch since then.) But proving that imitation is the best form of flattery, Batman Begins is the best of any of them. Nolan succeeds in turning Batman into what can only be described as a total badass. However, there are some laughable moments, such as Batman’s ridiculously low voice which led to Bale losing his voice three times whilst filming. For UCL novelty value, note that the Thomas Lewis room is dressed up as Gotham’s courtroom and Senate House was used as the court complex.
3. ‘The Prestige’ (2006):
Teaming up again with Bale and Caine (can you see a pattern emerging?), and with Hugh Jackman starring in a role that’s not Wolverine, The Prestige is the first time Nolan moves from the modern day. Set in 19th century London, two rival magicians attempt to produce the perfect trick, resorting to stranger and stranger methods. Even though some of the ideas seem completely ridiculous, they still create a very enjoyable film. With amusing and surprisingly good cameos from David Bowie and Andy Serkis, this film is definitely worth a watch. Trivia: The initials of the two main characters, Alfred Borden and Robert Angier, spell ABRA. Rather appropriate.
4. ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008):
Thought of by many as Nolan’s masterpiece, The Dark Knight is actually one of the best films I’ve ever seen. Although there are some amazing action set pieces and tense moments, the thing tying it all together is Heath Ledger’s truly insane performance as the Joker. A display that is both sadistic and psychopathic, it makes the worst-tempered lecturer seem almost angelic. It's actually quite hard to fully praise The Dark Knight in writing. Just go and see it. The assignment can wait.
5. ‘Inception’ (2010):
A ground-breaking film, Inception in a way managed to form its own genre; an action movie/science fiction/metaphysical hybrid. So much so that ‘Inception’ has been used as a replacement for ‘mind blown’ (in certain social circles). With a star-studded cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Paige, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Caine (again), the acting is certainly up to scratch. With fantastic action sequences that seem as if they would have been impossible to film and plot developments one after another; Inception is definitely what you would call exciting. And for some final trivia, scenes shot at UCL include the statue in the library (yes THE statue) and the Gustav Tuck lecture theatre, portrayed with a blackboard instead of its usual electronic screen.
One to watch: The Dark Knight Rises (July 2012). Will be epic. Enough said.