A couple months ago, we were treated to the teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan’s latest film Dunkirk, and it certainly left an impression (save for that smiling extra) on us. It promised a tense, dark and uncompromising film. From the looks of the first official trailer, we think it will indeed keep its initial promise.
Whether you like Christopher Nolan or not, it’s impossible not to admit he’s one of the most talented and interesting filmmakers working today. He started his career with the indie film Following and followed (pun completely intended) it up with the marvellous Memento, which went on to become a cult classic.
He was then tasked with tackling the superhero genre and given the Batman trilogy, which would pose any filmmaker quite the challenge. Nolan ended up setting the bar so high with The Dark Knight, that it has become the gold standard of the superhero genre. We can confidently say that this standard has not yet been met by any other directors working on superhero flicks.
After dabbling in the relative safety of a famous franchise, the next steps he took were incredibly ballsy. He directed two mega budget movies based on original screenplays, which is something quite rare today in Hollywood. Even if Inception wasn’t perfect (its ending frustrated many), he then blessed us with Interstellar, a heart-breaking science fiction film that will surely be regarded as a classic of the genre in the years to come.
Like almost every great filmmaker before him, including Spielberg to Tarantino, Nolan is now tackling the subject of World War II. And just like his two peers cited above, he’s doing it the old fashion way and shooting Dunkirk on film. Nolan has expressed his love for shooting non-digitally, and in recent years has been a fierce advocate of the Imax format. Judging by the first images we see here, this seems like the perfect format for the grandiose tale Nolan wants to tell us.
For the first time in years, Nolan is writing the script solo, without help from his brother Jonathan, who is probably too busy as the helm of the hit HBO show Westworld. He also appears to be going the ensemble route for the war epic with what may be his biggest cast to date, which includes Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and even One Direction’s Harry Styles.
The film chronicles the tragic Dunkirk evacuation (a.k.a. Operation Dynamo) from May 26 to June 4, 1940, which claimed the lives of thousands upon thousands of allied soldiers.The trailer really gives us a feel for the claustrophobia that this particular battle must have induced. Our only concern is that the expected rating for the film is PG-13, a rating that tends to make transcribing the horrors of war realistically rather difficult. We do however take solace in the fact Nolan managed to direct The Dark Knight Rises with the same rating, which as its title suggests, was indeed very dark.
Knowing Nolan, he’ll surely find a way to work around the rating, and give us the war movie we have been waiting for. Even if the film will undoubtedly be flawed in some way, we also know it’ll be one of the most interesting propositions the genre has ever offered.
Dunkirk will release July 21, 2017. Watch the trailer here.