It doesn’t take much to imagine what a Christopher Nolan war film might be like — epic, visually stunning, and supremely intense. Dunkirk seemingly checks off all of those boxes and then some in the first full-length trailer for Nolan’s highly-anticipated new film, a historical period drama that looks surprisingly claustrophobic given the open setting. Featuring an excellent ensemble of stars (including Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance), Dunkirk doesn’t feel like your average summer film, which has us all the more excited to see it in July.
400,000. That’s the number of soldiers trapped on the beach in Dunkirk, France, with their backs to the ocean and surrounded on all sides by enemy forces. From May 26 to June 4, 1940, Allied forces held the beach while they were slowly evacuated to safety. Over the course of nine days, about a third of them were either killed or captured while the rest made it back to Britain.
The calendar may have four seasons, but Hollywood’s calendar only really has two at this point: summer and awards, and summer seems to last longer and longer ever year. Though the start of May has long been the unofficial kickoff of the S.M.S., 2017 has already seen a King Kong movie, a ghost in a shell, and the fate of Fast & Furious franchise. The change from April to May is something of a formality in 2017. Once the Oscars are over, the summer begins.
Christopher Nolan might just be the most bankable Hollywood director this side of James Cameron. Whether shepherding the most successful comic book franchise DC has ever seen or trying his hand at dizzyingly high-concept original projects, Nolan has always met with a monster windfall at the box office. It’s almost as if his films never go out of style. That‘s supposed to be a joke about the song Taylor Swift wrote about Harry Styles. Who is in Christopher Nolan‘s new movie. This is very clearly not my wheelhouse, so let’s just push right ahead as if that never happened.
War movies are usually pretty tough to watch. Classics like Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan contain scenes of such shocking brutality that it’s almost impossible not to look away. Scenes like that are what normally gets a movie slapped with an R rating, but Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is going to be different. The movie is rated PG-13, which is a little odd given that the Allied victory at Dunkirk was coupled with a beach full of corpses and unimaginable loss of life.
Christopher Nolan has never made a war movie before. But befitting a director who has left an indelible mark on the superhero and science-fiction genres, it sounds like Nolan is very much not playing it safe with Dunkirk, his upcoming film about a crucial World War II battle. Nolan gave one of his first interviews about the movie to the French magazine Premiere (via The Playlist), where he revealed that movie would not be a straightforward interpretation of the events that engulfed British forces in the spring of 1940. Here’s what he had to say (assuming that a detail here or there might have been lost in the translation from the original French):
2016 is almost over! Hallelujah! With everything that’s happened in the last 12 months, we can’t wait to rip the last page of our 2016 Spider-Man wall calendar and hang up our 2017 Spider-Man wall calendar.
When they said Rogue One was a war movie they weren’t kidding.
Following the debut of the first official trailer for Dunkirk earlier this week, reports surfaced suggesting that a special sneak peek of Christopher Nolan’s latest would screen in IMAX theaters this weekend with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That’s not surprising, given the similar IMAX previews of Nolan’s last two Dark Knight films, and the director’s affinity for the format. And in the least shocking news of the week, IMAX has confirmed this weekend’s Dunkirk sneak peek with a full list of theaters where you can see it for yourself.
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.