At this point in his career, after rewriting the rules of superheroes with The Dark Knight and rewriting the rules of movie dreams in Inception, Christopher Nolan can basically do whatever he wants. And what he wanted to do this year, apparently, was tell the story of one World War II battle. Dunkirk, which Nolan also wrote, follows Allied soldiers during the Battle of Dunkirk, where they were pinned down by German forces and had to enact a mass evacuation. This first trailer plays up the sense of danger and dread all around these men as they’re trapped and surrounded on this beach and picked off from the skies above by German bombers.

Here’s the official synopsis:

From filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy) comes the epic action thriller Dunkirk, in theaters July 21, 2017.

That’s not much to go on, though it’s interesting that they call it an “epic action thriller” and not an “epic war film.” You also get glimpses of the terrific cast, including Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, Mark Rylance, and frequent Nolan collaborator Cillian Murphy. This “event that shaped our world” is left vague in the trailer, but if you want to read more about it, you can. Or you can just avoid all kinds of historical spoilers and just wait to see what Christopher Nolan’s version looks like next July.