The first official trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming war epic was released today. Arriving to theatres on July 21st 2017, Dunkirk stars Tom Hardy (The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Wolf Hall), Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn, Hamlet, Henry V) and Cillian Murphy (Inception, The Dark Knight” Trilogy), as well as newcomer Fionn Whitehead. The ensemble cast also includes Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, James D’Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan and Tom Glynn-Carney.
With the trailer came a short synopsis from the studio stating:
“Dunkirk” opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.
Following in the footsteps of great directors past, this seems to be Nolan’s rendition of Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, The Thin Red Line or Full Metal Jacket. Apparently, it’s a rite of passage to do a war film and to his credit, this looks to be quite the affair. Featuring a score from frequent collaborator Hans Zimmer, the trailer is chalk full of his now famous Inception sound as well as some Nolan staples including the emotional speech delivered by the secondary character (in this case Mark Rylance) and of course his regular cast of recurring actors in his films (including Hardy and Murphy but surprisingly no Michael Caine who I suppose could make a cameo). There will probably be some timeline manipulation to make it a true Nolan film but we will have to wait for the full time to see if that is indeed the case.
Whether or not Nolan can bring something new to the war drama formula remains to be seen. The genre is already plump with stellar films including those listed above that I think it’s a tough bar to match let alone exceed. Much like Interstellar, where Nolan tackled the challenge of outer space, I think he will have a hard time bringing something that doesn’t feel like a pale imitation of a genre classic. When he revolutionized the standard for the superhero film as a serious genre with the Dark Knight Trilogy, the landscape was still in its infancy, here, he faces a much more established genre.
That being said, Nolan remains one of the marquee directors in the industry today and though I was in the minority that did not find Interstellar to be a masterpiece, many people disagreed so to say he can’t release a war film worthy of the Kubrick’s, Spielberg’s, Malick’s or Coppola’s would be understating Nolan’s abilities.
What did you think of the Dunkirk trailer? Do you think Nolan can deliver a classic war film? Do you (like so many others) think I’m an idiot for not liking Interstellar? Sound off in the comments below or reach us via our social media.