There is no such thing as a Christopher Nolan movie without a twist. It’s his signature staple in every movie. As an audience, we sit in our chairs, waiting in anticipation for a moment that will both shock and dumbfound us. To quote a line from Nolan’s upcoming movie, Tenet, “Don’t try to understand it. Feel it.” Don’t try to understand the twists. Feel it, enjoy it, and then run home to Reddit to look at fan theories that attempt to explain it.
Here are my five favorite movie twists from Christopher Nolan.
5. Interstellar – Cooper Is Murph’s Ghost
After Interstellar, Nolan went back to the drawing board and thought to himself, “How can I create another mind fuck about time? I got it! The movie’s about time… but it’s in space!” What dreams are to Inception is what wormholes are to Interstellar. Frankly, Nolan could have just marketed this movie as “Matthew McConaughey goes to space,” and I was sold. Instead, Interstellar was a fun adventure that made me question the existence of time. In terms of the twist, it was more rewarding than surprising especially since we got a scene with McConaughey and Ellen Burstyn. Love you, Murph.
4. Memento – Leonard Is The Killer
I’m assuming people will take issue with this ranking because many believe it’s not only one of Nolan’s best twists but it’s his best movie. For me, the final scene still leaves me confused to this day so it’s not as satisfying since I can’t explain it. Memento‘s twist is still shocking to this day. I just rewatched the clip and I’m still in awe. For those who don’t know, Leonard is actually the real killer in Memento. Leonard accidentally killed his wife with an insulin overdose. He continues to hunt a “killer” because he can’t face the grief of his deadly mistake and devises plans to hun for a killer that doesn’t exist. Although most of us haven’t committed murder, we all make up our own truths in order to ignore reality. It’s a harsh, but scary truth.
3. Batman Begins – Ra’s al Ghoul Is Liam Neeson
When the guy you least expect turns out to be the villain, that’s when you know the twist worked. In Batman Begins, Liam Neeson was first introduced as Henri Ducard, Bruce Wayne’s mentor, and introduction to the League of Shadows. When Bruce saved his life and left him to heal, I knew he would be back in some way. However, when Ducard revealed himself as Ra’s al Ghoul, my jaw hit the ground. Neeson’s bad guy was the perfect appetizer for the iconic villain that would follow in The Dark Knight, the Joker.
2. The Prestige – Christian Bale Has A Twin
I always believe that two Christian Bales are better than one. The Prestige is one of Nolan’s best scripts, but it gets lost in the shuffle because of its location in Nolan’s filmography. The film that comes before The Prestige is Batman Begins and the film that comes after is The Dark Knight, with the latter universally recognized as one of the best superhero movies ever made. In other words, The Prestige gets sandwiched in between the first two chapters in one of the most important trilogies of the 21st century. The though the film gets lost in the shuffle, the twist is top-tier Nolan. Bale revealing himself to be a twin is the shocking twist, but the entire movie is a game of one-upmanship. From Tesla’s machine to the water tank reveal, The Prestige is full of surprising twists every 15 minutes, just the way Nolan likes it.
1.The Dark Knight Rises – Talia Stabs Batman
WHERE’S THE TRIGGER? I’m going to receive a lot of backlash for this pick, but hey, it’s my list and I can do what I want. Out of the five Nolan movies I’ve seen in theaters Nolan, Talia stabbing Batman was by far the loudest reaction from the crowd. Once Talia said, “But he’s not the child of Ra’s al Ghoul,” and punctured Batman’s suit, the sound of gasps filled the theater so much that you could barely he the next couple of lines. It may not be Nolan’s best twist, but it will always hold a special place in my memory.
What is your favorite movie twist from Christopher Nolan? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.