Dunkirk – Full Preview

The latest trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk has reinvigorated many film fans’ enthusiasm for the Inception director’s latest project. Indeed the trailer, whilst baring all the hallmarks of the majority of trailers since, in fact, Inception’s, is nonetheless a great sample of what to expect on the 21st July.

The first thing viewers will notice is the trailer’s beauty – Nolan’s trademark style hasn’t been lost since he changed his usual DOP (the great Wally Pfister, who parted ways to follow his own directorial ambitions) to Hoyte van Hoytema, who worked with Nolan on his most recent film Interstellar. As flawed as the film was in parts, it was almost always breathtakingly beautiful, and in some places nothing short of jaw dropping – especially in the IMAX format that Christopher Nolan is such a fan of.

Much of Dunkirk has also been shot on IMAX film, and Nolan has really been the pioneer of shooting IMAX footage in this way, especially in unconventional manners for scenes that would normally be (and were) incredibly difficult to do, right back to the iconic bank robbing opening of The Dark Knight. The best example comes from the end of the trilogy, where Nolan strapped one of the absolutely huge IMAX cameras to a helicopter and flew it about Scotland to get the brilliant opening for The Dark Knight Rises. Given some of the shots in the Dunkirk trailer, it looks like neither Nolan nor Hoytema have lost their touch.

Adding to this is the strength of the narrative and the pure scale of the event. The so-called ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’ was just one of the many events of the Second World War that were to live on in infamy and myth after the conflict, transforming into tales of hope and despair postwar as those who lived through it remembered or tried to forget their experiences. The Dunkirk evacuation is therefore an excellent choice, embodying this whilst also having a surprisingly small preexisting cinematic legacy. Combine this with Nolan’s tested visual talents and Hans Zimmer’s return to score the film, and Dunkirk should be a visceral experience if nothing else.

More excitingly, the cast is nothing short of spectacular – as mentioned in our earlier preview of the film, the cast of Dunkirk is one of its many appeals, and Nolan has shown in the past how adept he is in handling ensemble narratives. This is most noticeable in Inception but also consider The Dark Knight, in which it’s difficult to describe Batman as the “main” character. All of this is a good sign, and frankly who isn’t looking forward to seeing Mark Rylance in a Nolan film whilst Tom Hardy flies about the skies above him in a Spitfire? There’s always lots to look forward to with news of a new Nolan film, but something about Dunkirk seems special.

By Oliver Rowe

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