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 new trailer-teaser for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk makes a point of telling us how many men were on those beaches, and the feeling of worry and despair that permeated such a large group of people for such a short amount of time. “Time is running out,” the end of the teaser states.

So far, the advertising for this film has felt intense, shocking, and mainly extremely sad, but we have yet to see any scenes of really, truly bloody violence. This is probably because this is advertising, which is, you know, shown to a broad range of people, including children, but this also jives with Nolan’s reasoning behind the film’s rating. Dunkirk, a movie set during wartime, is rated PG-13. “Dunkirk is not a war film,” Nolan clarified a month ago. “It’s a survival story and first and foremost a suspense film. So while there is a high level of intensity to it, it does not necessarily concern itself with the bloody aspects of combat, which have been so well done in so many films.”

Dunkirk stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh and Harry Styles, and hits theaters July 21.


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