5 Ways to Prep: Dunkirk
By George Rose
July 24, 2017
2) The Dark Knight (year: 2008, genre: superhero/drama, reviews: 94% positive)
When I started 5 Ways to Prep, I made a rule that said I won’t recommend two movies from the same franchise. That rule means I can only recommend one Batman movie, NOT that I can only recommend one Christopher Nolan movie. Nolan’s filmography isn’t one franchise but he is definitely his own genre. His genre is that he has no genre but can write/direct his way through all that Hollywood has to challenge him with. After he did Memento, Nolan followed that movie up with 2002’s Insomnia (92% positive), 2005’s Batman Begins (84% positive) and 2006’s The Prestige (76% positive). Reading this, you might think his level of quality was on a downward spiral. In reality, he followed up an indie movie with a great thriller, relaunched a dead franchise to its superhero glory, and proved again he doesn’t need the help of a legendary icon to carry his career. Any doubts he was losing steam were squashed with his next release.
In 2008, the superhero genre was destroyed. Sure, X-Men and Spider-Man brought back the genre in the early 2000s but in 2008, Batman and the Joker took the world by storm and crushed the competition. In 2017, it remains clear the Marvel Cinematic Universe dominates over the DC Universe, but the crown jewel of superhero movies is still The Dark Knight. It broke through expectations for what the genre could offer and landed the film eight Oscar nominations. Though the film’s $158 million opening weekend may have been the result of Heath Ledger’s unfortunate death (his role as the Joker would land him a posthumous Oscar win), the $533 million domestic total and $1 billion worldwide earnings were solely the result of Nolan’s efforts. After four films, Nolan was clearly an A-list director. After this fifth movie, you knew the only thing to expect was the unexpected. Whatever he did after Batman was sure to astound the world. Or ruin his career. Let’s see what happened next…
3) Inception (year: 2010, genre: every genre ever, reviews: 86% positive)
Oh. My. God. What an amazing movie!!! I say it’s “every genre ever” because when you look it up online (I needed help trying to define this into one or two genres) it says “action, adventure, mystery, suspense, sci-fi and fantasy”. That’s basically, um, every good genre ever. And Nolan killed all six of those birds with this one little stone. Well, it’s more like a boulder. No, probably closer to a mountain. The movie is epic. Just like The Fifth Element, the genre combo and how old I was and the impact this perfectly timed masterpiece entered my life would lead Inception to become one of my all time favorite movies ever. After seven years this still remains the case.
This time, Nolan didn’t just redefine a genre; that’s reserved for movies that only claim one genre. When you tackle several genres in one, you aren’t redefining anything. You are DEFINING yourself. After six good movies, you can consider yourself towards the end of a lucky streak. After releasing The Dark Knight, Nolan could be considered one of the best writers or best directors around but instead rose to the top of the writer/director heap. After he did Inception, it became obvious that Nolan was something else entirely. The Golden Goose would become a Phoenix Rising and set Hollywood on fire. Inception is a completely original idea that Nolan is solely responsible for: What would happen if you could enter someone’s dreams? He took this one idea and went as far down the rabbit hole as possible.