Christopher Nolan had such a perfect outsider journey into Hollywood filmmaking, he makes transforming into one of the world’s foremost A-list directors look simple.

First, you make your requisite black-and-white feature debut for less than a half-million dollars (Following) in England. Then you come over to America, 

put together an inventive, almost revolutionary indie (Memento), which gets you invited into the big studio system for Insomnia, 

where two seasoned pros like Robin Williams and Al Pacino can recognize an up-and-coming talent and agree to star. Then, boom: You’re good to go in your new career as a rising director.

For Nolan, the next step up was a surprising move at the time: Resurrecting Bruce Wayne for Batman Begins, whose big-screen reputation had been trashed by Batman & Robin. 

With The Prestige, he really began to establish himself as a brand and icon whose pictures you can rely on to feature slick-as-ice style,

heavy dollops of science fiction, mind-warping concepts and resolutions, and a growing repertoire of actors to fulfill his vision.

Inception and Interstellar certainly fit this mold, while The Dark Knight (and its Rises sequel, to an extent) revolutionized comic book movies and pop culture fandom.