Christopher Nolan’s tenth feature-length film, Dunkirk, releases this week on 21st July, almost three full years after his sci-fi blockbuster, Interstellar.
Nolan is one of the few directors in the world whose reputation alone can carry a film – irrespective of his cast. Dunkirk, too, is slated to be the biggest release of the year so far, with Warner Bros. pulling out all the stops to market Nolan’s most “different” effort so far. He has consistently pushed the envelope with unconventional concepts seemingly packaged in impossibly accessible styles over the years.
Here are some things you need to know about Dunkirk, before camping overnight to watch those midnight and 7 AM screenings this Friday:
Dunkirk is a multi-narrative war drama told from three points of view (air, boat and land) in a non-linear way. It concerns the miraculous World War 2 evacuation (Operation Dynamo) of surrounded Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk (France) in 1940. Over eight days, 3,38,226 soldiers were evacuated haphazardly in a fleet of over 800 boats.
This is the conceptually inclined Nolan’s first based-on-true-events drama.
The film features mostly practical stunts and lesser visual effects as compared to Nolan’s previous epics. It also features more IMAX footage than the traditionalist’s previous films – a stunning 75% this time. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema has shot this on IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format stock. Over 125 cinema halls across the world will showcase this in 70mm – the purest and best way to watch it. India only has digital IMAX theaters (PVR Phoenix Mills and IMAX Wadala being the ones in Mumbai).
This is Nolan’s shortest-ever film, duration wise, at 107 minutes. In contrast, Interstellar was his longest, at 169 minutes.
Harry Styles, of boy band One Direction, makes his acting debut in Dunkirk.
Nolan will receive 20 percent of the box office gross, in addition to his $20 million salary.
The ‘enemies’ – the German soldiers – will never be shown on screen.
This is German composer Hans Zimmer’s sixth collaboration with Nolan after The Batman trilogy, Inception and Interstellar.
This is editor Lee Smith’s seventh collaboration with Nolan.
More than 6000 extras participated in the shoot. None were added through visual effects.
This is Nolan’s fourth film to be released in the month of July. His previous three were Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight.
The Dunkirk trailer has clocked more than 22 million views on Youtube.
There are very few dialogues in the entire film. Buzz from early screenings have fixated on the fact that it is ‘almost a silent film’.
The cast is magnificent, with the headliner being British Oscar winner Mark Rylance (from The Bridge of Spies), Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy (who previously acted as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and as identity thief Eames in Inception).
Though his nine films have grossed over $26 billion together, Nolan has never received a Best Director Oscar nomination. He has been nominated for Original Screenplay twice (Memento, Inception), while his films have 26 nominations in total with 7 wins. Only one of his films – Inception – has been nominated for Best Picture.