Christopher Nolan is back with Dunkirk, an epic story of survival — just don’t call it a war film — and there is a new preview ahead of its summer release. It revolves around the Battle of Dunkirk and features a cast that includes Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, and James D’Arcy. “It’s one of the great human stories, and it’s one of the most suspenseful situations that I had ever heard of in my life,” the director told Fandango. “You have 400,000 men – the entire British army – trapped on the beach at Dunkirk. Their backs to the sea, home is only 26 miles away and it’s impossible to get to. The enemy is closing in, and there’s a choice between annihilation and surrender. I just think it’s the more extraordinarily suspenseful situation. That, I think, speaks to a lot of things that I am interested in with film.”

Dunkirk is told from three perspectives: the planes in the air, the men on the beach, and the navy on the sea. This three-pronged approach speaks to Nolan’s attempt to focus on the human element of the story. “I feel like Dunkirk is such a universal event and it involves so many people that to try to encapsulate the specific detail of the human experience wasn’t the way to go,” said Nolan. “What we decided to do was to really try and live in the moment of the experience…the very immediate and human desire to survive. It’s the most human movie I’ve ever made because it’s about the desire for survival. We wanted to tackle that and make what I refer to as a very present tense narrative where you’re in the moment with the characters. You’re not necessarily spending too much time discussing who they were before or who they will be after.”

Nolan hopes Dunkirk will be a major leap forward for IMAX movie making. “No one has ever shot as much IMAX as we’re doing,” he told Fandango. “Most of the film is IMAX. With every film we’ve learned more and more how to maximize our ability to use those cameras, and we found ways to get those cameras into very unusual places for a camera that size, but the image quality speaks for itself. I think it’s going to be an extremely exciting presentation, particularly in those IMAX theaters.”

The full trailer for Dunkirk arrived today. You can watch it below.


Dunkirk opens on July 21.

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