Christopher Nolan is not one to dumb down to his audience and in that sense, you probably won't see him create a straight-to-Netflix special anytime soon. The 46-year old has been busy working away behind the scenes last year and the start of 2017 for his new war epic Dunkirk. A feature that will open nationwide on July 21.
Shot on IMAX 65 mm large format film stock with the assistance of cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, the blockbuster is sure to put on a cinematic spectacle that will be hard to top. But, like any title that the Englishman undertakes, there are subplots within subplots. Providing a storyline that always keeps the audience guessing and on the edge of their seat.
It's Very Complicated, But Simple - Nolan
Overlapping three various narratives to make one motion picture is a task that would keep many directors up at night with cold sweats, but for Nolan it is about a simple structure boiled down to time management. Speaking with French publication Premiere, he went into further detail about his masterpiece.
"The film is told from three points of view," he begins. "The air (planes), the land (on the beach) and the sea (the evacuation by the navy). For the soldiers 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. Even if the story, once again, is very simple."
The Moral Victory That Crushed Germany
From a purely strategic point of view, the battle at Dunkirk was a defeat for the British. However, Nolan recalls that the moment offered a path forward to end Hitler's Germany from ever conquering Europe and therefore the world.
"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."