Christopher Nolan‘s “Dunkirk” sees one of the best blockbuster directors of the moment turning his talents to WWII. Indeed, it looks like we’ll be getting a very different kind of filmmaker than we’re used to in Nolan’s next effort, and it goes beyond the casting of heartthrob Harry Styles, and using IMAX cameras to capture the horrors of war. The director’s storytelling techniques are also getting a new spin.
In a new interview with Premiere, Nolan reveals that dialogue — which some have criticized as being too expository in past films — has been pared back, with the director likening “Dunkirk” to a survival tale. Even more, the film will feature three different perspectives moving from the beach (with Harry Styles), to the sea (with Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy), and up to the sky (with Tom Hardy).
“The film is told from three points of view. The air (planes), the land (on the beach) and the sea (the evacuation by the navy). For the soldiers embarked in the conflict, the events took place on different temporalities,” Nolan said (via Google translation). “On land, some stayed one week stuck on the beach. On the water, the events lasted a maximum day; And if you were flying to Dunkirk, the British spitfires would carry an hour of fuel. To mingle these different versions of history, one had to mix the temporal strata. Hence the complicated structure; Even if the story, once again, is very simple.”
However, this is all in service of Nolan doing justice to a pivotal moment of the war.
“This is an essential moment in the history of the Second World War. If this evacuation had not been a success, Great Britain would have been obliged to capitulate. And the whole world would have been lost, or would have known a different fate: the Germans would undoubtedly have conquered Europe, the US would not have returned to war,” he said. “It is a true point of rupture in war and in history of the world. A decisive moment. And the success of the evacuation allowed Churchill to impose the idea of a moral victory, which allowed him to galvanize his troops like civilians and to impose a spirit of resistance while the logic of this sequence should have been that of surrender. Militarily it is a defeat; On the human plane it is a colossal victory.”
“Dunkirk” opens on July 21st.