While Christopher Nolan enjoys letting his imagination run wild with incredibly creative screenplays, he admits the real life adaptation of Dunkirk competes with anything that has come before. Creating the likes of The Prestige, Interstellar, Inception and The Dark Knight franchise, the Englishman told Fandango during an interview this week that the legendary World War II battle is as gripping a narrative as you are ever going to encounter.
"It’s one of the great human stories, and it’s one of the most suspenseful situations that I had ever heard of in my life," he began. "You have 400,000 men – the entire British army – trapped on the beach at Dunkirk. Their backs to the sea, home is only 26 miles away and it’s impossible to get to. The enemy is closing in, and there’s a choice between annihilation and surrender. I just think it’s the more extraordinarily suspenseful situation. That, I think, speaks to a lot of things that I am interested in with film."
Nolan Goes To The Max For Visual Experience
With his love affair for shooting in IMAX going above and beyond in 2017, the 46-year old said that this movie will be groundbreaking for the sheer amount of scenes where the technology is utilized. Ironically enough for a film set in the 1940s.
"Really, I think Dunkirk represents the culmination of all of these experiences we’ve had over the years (with IMAX)," he states. "How to work with that format, and how to really try to give the audience the most visceral experiential two hours that they can hope for … There’s absolutely more IMAX (than we’ve ever done). The entire film is large format film photography, and I’ve never done that before. Very few people have ever done that before, and no one has ever shot as much IMAX as we’re doing. Most of the film is IMAX. With every film we’ve learned more and more how to maximize our ability to use those cameras. And we found ways to get those cameras into very unusual places for a camera that size, but the image quality speaks for itself. I think it’s going to be an extremely exciting presentation, particularly in those IMAX theaters."
Suspenseful Blockbuster Is About Living In The Moment
Similar to the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan or the furious and ferocious title The Revenant, Nolan tells the website that the audience will not be able to sit back and take a breathe for this installment.
"People who know the story of Dunkirk, in particular, may be surprised by the intensity of the experience. It’s a very suspenseful story and we really try to do justice to that. The pacing is relentless, and the story and action scenes are extraordinarily intense. I think the lean, stripped-down nature of that, and how fast it moves, and what it puts you through in this short space of time… I think it has a different rhythm that I’ve worked in before."
Given the fact that he has brought his regular Tom Hardy along for the ride, the dialogue for the blockbuster is minimal. Depicting life or death situations in the sea, ground and skies, there is no time to talk about the consequences of the battle. It is happening regardless.
"I think the visual nature of the storytelling is something I’m excited about. It’s something I value in films and film history; I’m an incredible lover of silent films. The challenge of taking on what I call a present-tense narrative – that is to say, we don’t learn a lot about the people we’re experiencing this with. We really just try to live in the moment and experience it with them, and look through their eyes. That was the challenge of the film, and as it is shaping up I think that, for me, is the thing that I challenged myself the most with and I am excited about that."
Dunkirk opens in cinemas July 21, 2017.