While the art house crowd and the multiplex crowd may not always see eye-to-eye, at least they both have Christopher Nolan. The popular director of both comic book movies (“The Dark Knight“) and ambitious genre films (“Inception“) is one of the few filmmakers who is held in high regard by both audiences, making any upcoming release the closest thing that Hollywood has to a universal event. And with his ambitious World War 2 film “Dunkirk” set to hit theaters later this year, both audiences are more than a little excited to see what Nolan has in store for us.
Apparently, it’s a whole lot of silence. If you thought the first trailer for “Dunkirk” seemed a little light on dialogue, well, you’re not wrong. Nolan spoke recently with Fandango about his pride at emphasizing the “visual nature of storytelling” and drawing on his love of silent film for the movie. Here’s the relevant quotes:
[It’s] the kind of film where the visual aspect of the film is dominant right from the get-go. There’s dialogue in the film, but we really tried to approach the storytelling very much from a visual point of view, and an action-and-suspense point of view… It’s something I value in films and film history; I’m an incredible lover of silent films. The challenge of taking on what I call a present-tense narrative – that is to say, we don’t learn a lot about the people we’re experiencing this with. We really just try to live in the moment and experience it with them, and look through their eyes.
Although it may seem odd to hear a blockbuster filmmaker compare his work to a silent film, it’s probably worth remembering that a big chunk of what made George Miller‘s “Mad Max: Fury Road” so popular was this same emphasis on visual and present-tense storytelling over plot and dialogue. A war film is the perfect setting to toy with how information is conveyed to the audience; I, for one, am very excited to see Nolan take his personal style of storytelling into uncharted waters. After all, if he gets lost, he can always have the British merchant marine fleet come rescue him.