Even the best directors make films that do not work. Most would concede that the odd blip is bound to happen, because movie making is about taking risks. However, Christopher Nolan is one of the very few directors who works for big studios and has yet to make a bad film.
Now, the term ‘bad ‘ is of course subjective. But, with regards to Nolan, every single one of his features, from Following to The Dark Knight Rises, work. In fact, most of them are positively riveting.
Of course, subjectivity comes into it, but so does prolificacy. While Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese make a film roughly every two years, James Cameron has played it safe and has only directed eight feature films in around 30 years. And, two of them were Piranhas 2 and Titanic.
The reason that Cameron is worth mentioning, is because all his films have made money. But, while Titanic took over a billion at the box office, any erudite viewer will be able to recognize that the film is badly written and contains characters, affluent as well as destitute, who are caked in stage make-up throughout the film.
Indeed, what turns directors into legends, is how many great films they make and not how many bad or indifferent projects they have presided over.
Francis Ford Coppola is a legend, despite making numerous bad choices for the last 30 years, he has contributed more to cinema than 90% of directors out there and that will never change.
And, that is what makes Christopher Nolan’s achievements all the more extraordinary. But, at only 41-years-old, he is still very much at start of his career, with hits like The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and more, and if he does go onto make a bad film, indeed if he goes onto make 10 bad films, that will not detract from the impact of his previous work. Every film, and work of art for that matter, should stand alone and be judged on its own merits.