Joel and Ethan Coen are very very recognisable names in the world of film making with almost all of their films achieving critical acclaim, the same can be said of Christopher Nolan and his occasional collaborator, the less famous brother Jonathan Nolan. There is no doubt that these two sets of brothers have a huge talent for film making and I think everyone has at least seen a film by each of them, if not count it among their favourite movies of all time.

The Coens are two of only seven directors to win three Oscars for one film.

The Coen brothers are the seasoned professionals of the two having been making movies since Blood Simple in 1984. Joel and Ethan are a perfect partnership; they write, produce, direct and edit all of their films together and rightly share joint credits in doing so. Their back catalogue of movies includes big hitters such as The Big Lebowski, Fargo, True Grit and No Country For Old Men; there aren’t many directors that can claim to have such a wealth of superb films in their locker.

The year is 1998: enter Christopher Nolan. Nolan first worked with his brother Jonathan on the absolutely fantastic Memento, adapted from Jonathan’s short story. Whilst not working together on every project like the Coen brothers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have written The Dark Knight (often cited as one of the best films of all time), The Prestige and one of the most anticipated films of this year, The Dark Knight Rises, together. Some might say these films have enough about them to challenge the very best of the Coen brothers themselves.

The working partnership between the two brothers is obviously very different but there is no doubt that all four individuals have a huge love for the cinema and a passion to bring incredible films to huge, happy audiences. The films that the brothers make are also very different in themselves; the Nolan films, aside from Memento, are huge blockbusters with big budgets, whereas the Coen films are smaller scale, more intimate and more character related (something that Christopher Nolan might disagree with but this is my opinion).

The Nolans’ The Dark Knight is considered one of the all time greatest movies.

If we go by the highest accolade in film making, the Academy Awards we would believe that the Coens were the better of the two partnerships, racking up 33 Oscar nominations for their films collectively, winning six of them, including two for screenwriting and one for directing. The films written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have garnered 12 nominations, including two wins. However, with the Nolans having done only three films together it is highly likely that if they continue to work together their Oscar count will rise higher than the Coens’.

In my opinion, the experience that the Coen brothers have over the Nolans gives them the edge and I really believe that they make some of the best movies of our time, True Grit and No Country For Old Men being two of my favourites of theirs. Whilst the Nolans do make terrific films, there is no doubt about that, I feel that they still have a long way to go before being as good as the Coens but if they continue on the road they are on and continue to write films together than I have no doubt that they will surpass the directing duo that currently sits at the top of the tree.

One thing is for sure though, I will continue to enjoy the films made by the Nolans and the Coens for as long as they make movies. Film fans are lucky to have two such magnificent partnerships working today to create absolute works of art.

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