Will Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ be just another glorified World War movie?

Published: December 16, 2016

Faux-clever and quasi-mysterious to some, while pseudo-intellectual and cine-snob to others; irrespective of the amount of criticism levelled at Christopher Nolan over the years, we can all agree that The Dark Knight-famed filmmaker is one the most famous people alive.

Whenever probed for a favourite director, most of the film students I teach would invariably come up with Nolan. Now whether that is a real reflection of his work or simply a by-product of his popularity is up for debate, but what we cannot deny is the cine-cult status that Nolan enjoys. So whether you like it or not, an early peek into his latest project is a big deal.

The first full-length trailer of Christopher Nolan’s historical drama Dunkirk has just dropped and boy is it, ermm … like every other war flick that we have seen over the years.

Nolan is a guy who is willing to tell bold stories on a huge canvas, and Dunkirk is no different, with a premise based on one of World War II’s most harrowing military engagements.

Dunkirk is a recollection of the famous 1940 Operation Dynamo, in which a fleet of British vessels, mainly manned by volunteers, try to rescue 400,000 stranded Allied troops from a French beach.

The first thing that immediately jumps at you after the first viewing of the trailer is how Nolan is selling this as a true ensemble. The stellar cast pits former collaborators Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy against powerhouse performers Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance. But despite the box office smashing presence of all the aforementioned talents, its former One Direction member Harry Styles whom we observe rather closely during the two minute clip.

Much to the chagrin of thousands of girls globally, the teenage heartthrob is wretchedly stuffed into the back of a van with his fellow soldiers like cattle in one shot. And if that wasn’t enough to collectively break female hearts world over, he is then drowned underwater in signature Nolan style.

Following a run of comic book adaptations and sci-fi mind-benders, the British filmmaker is back to directing a ‘realistic’ narrative. But even with a clear-cut concept – when compared to his recent work – the trailer is not without Nolan’s eye for spectacular visuals. Shot in dull tones, the gritty cinematography focuses on the bleak, eerie landscape of the French coastline in the 40s, appropriately adding this extra layer of tension, to an already stressful dramatic proceeding.

Christopher Nolan manages to display undeniable craftsmanship as a filmmaker during the two minute trailer, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s simply a case of ‘been there, done that’. His true test now lies in coming up with a final product that can stand its own amongst genre greats like Saving Private RyanThin Red LineApocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.

With a release date of mid-July, guess we won’t have to wait long to find that out.

Which is your favourite Christopher Nolan movie?

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Hassan Sardar

Hassan Sardar

The author is an aspiring filmmaker and a diehard Liverpool fan. He also teaches Screenwriting and Cinematography, and loves tattoos and flip-flops. He tweets as @CineSardar (twitter.com/CineSardar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • sterry

    It’s funny that people have made history into a joke. Everyone knows that the Germans rolled up the French and British early on in World War Two and could have completely destroyed the remaining British at Dunkirk. It was Hitler who did not want to inflict too crushing a defeat on the British and allowed the ships to come and take away the surviving soldiers. No one believes in the Miracle of Dunkirk because it would have been nothing for the Germans to have finished off the survivors at this stage. Hitler was a racist who still wanted to find peace with the “Anglo-Saxon” Brits before he turned his attention to the Slavic peoples in the East. This was not to be since the British soldiers he let escape came back in a few years.Recommend

  • KaKa

    Interstellar. Period.Recommend

  • Jake Accornero

    I agree .The trailer left me feeling a little underwhelmed, but I did get to see the prologue the other night at the IMAX theater… It was incredible! The visuals were a sight to behold. The tension building through those 5 minutes was fantastic. July cannot get here any sooner.Recommend

  • Neelima Jha

    Christopher Nolan has given a lot of cinematical masterpieces. A lot of his earlier movies proved his excellence. This list will help you to know how perfect his masterpieces are https://goo.gl/5KRILPRecommend