Right from his first escapade in Following, Christopher Nolan firmly showed that his signature was plot twists and ever since then he has not disappointed. Without realising it, you’re in the calm before the storm then he throws you a curve ball and the whole film changes. Here is the lowdown of his best five and you just may be surprised which comes out on top…
Here we obviously must include a MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!
5: Batman Begins (2005)
Coming in at the bottom, but by no means a poor game changer, is Batman Begins.
The big twist is when Liam Neeson turns out to be Ra’s al Ghul. No one expects it, especially not Batman, and when it is revealed it makes the rest of the story a whole lot easier to chew on.
All the way through, Nolan leads us to believe Ghul is dead, but when he is not, it turns out Wayne has got another enemy to compete against.
Satisfying, but Nolan has done better.
4: Inception (2010)
When this was revealed, I don’t think there was a single viewer that was not shocked. Throughout, it seemed that Mal (Marion Cotillard) was insane, gone wild thanks to dreaming too much. But in the closing minutes it is disclosed that in fact Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) tried inception on his very own wife, which is why she went mad. As a constant, Cobb is perceived as a troubled and hurt character, almost targeted and unlucky. This is the moment that you realise that perhaps Cobb is a slightly more troubled character, but due to his own actions. Once again, it’s a pinpoint accurate, believable twist that changes the characteristics of the protagonist and, in doing so, changes the viewer’s perceptions to no end.
3: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
In this very fitting conclusion to the epic Dark Knight series, the twist is left to the very end and once again contains Marion Cotillard, but this time as Miranda, who seems to be a very trustworthy ally to Bruce Wayne. Also like Inception, Cotillard is wonderfully dark, but this time stronger, although she still has a hint of a crazed nature within. The twist is that even though Bane is seemingly the mastermind behind the plot, it is actually her working deceitfully behind the scenes. Bane, who is also played very well by Tom Hardy, is the brute that puts Batman in prison and locks him away for what seems like forever. It’s only until the very end, Miranda comes to light as the true villain. It changes the whole story and provides a fulfilling conclusion.
2: Memento (2000)
Just failing to reach the top spot is Memento. A truly phenomenal film, ended with a mind-blowing twist. Guy Pearce as Leonard is genius in this and Nolan, just as in Inception, leads us to believe he is the wounded one throughout the film. In the dying seconds, it is learnt that he is not as innocent as he first seems to be. Outright, it is stated that he will kill the person who changed his life, but audiences seem to be stoic regarding this due to his debilitating illness of memory loss. But when it is shown that ‘John G’ is a fictional character that he just makes up to keep him occupied, his character and the plot are instantly changed. And the best bit? He won’t remember. Disorientating, ambiguous and thrilling; Memento manages to tick all the boxes, including the signature Nolan twist.
1: The Prestige (2006)
Hitting the top spot is the magical The Prestige. Now this really is the mother of all curveballs. Assisted by masterful performances from Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman and even David Bowie, the plot of The Prestige is solid and gripping. Once again, within the dying seconds, it is revealed that Alfred (Bale) has a twin and when one is playing the part of Alfred, the other is their assistant. A jaw-dropping moment to say the least and this literally changes every part of the film; from the outcome of the characters to their roles in the game they have played each other at.
Also, who was the eventual winner in the battle of wits? A debate ensues… As magical as the premise of the film, Nolan eludes viewers so well that even the most astute audiences won’t see this one coming. It’s a brilliant story, with an even better twist. Surprisingly, Nolan time and time again produces these twists but they never get old.
Thanks for reading. Now tell us your favourite Nolan and non-Nolan film twists below…