Christopher Nolan is pretty much the reigning modern-day king regarding captivating yet highly complex storytelling, a trademark that is returning for this summer’s hotly anticipated World War II epic Dunkirk. Despite looking relatively straightforward in its first trailer [watch it here], we should have known the director would have some tricks up his sleeve.
Speaking about the narrative structure to Première, Nolan stated: “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 who embarked in the conflict, the events took place on different temporalities. 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; aven if the story, once again, is very simple.”
Nolan also expressed how important the battle was, claiming “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. 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 is set for release on July 21st 2017 and features a cast that includes Nolan regulars Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy alongside Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, Jack Lowden, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Tom Glynn-Carney and newcomer Fionn Whitehead.