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Christopher Nolan Explains Simple Yet Complicated Plot of Dunkirk

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Christopher Nolan Explains Simple Yet Complicated Plot of Dunkirk

The upcoming summer will bring its fair share of superheroes, sequels, and remakes, as has been par for the course over the past few decades, but fans will also get a new Christopher Nolan movie with the filmmaker’s highly-anticipated Dunkirk. Aside from a new poster for this WWII action-thriller in December and a trailer in August, we haven’t seen much from this release slated to hit theaters nationwide on July 21. Today, we have some plot details from director Christopher Nolan, who teases that the story is both more simple and much more complex than you might think.

Nolan revealed that the exposition-filled dialogue in the first trailer has been dialed back and that Dunkirk will be told through the perspective of three different British soldiers.

The film will focus on the sky with Tom Hardy manning an airplane, the beach with Harry Styles, and the sea with the navy (Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy). Nolan explained how the events of Dunkirk was different for those stuck on the beach, as they had to wait a week before being rescued while those stuck on ships were able to get out within a single day.

“To mingle these different versions of history, one had to mix the temporal strata,” Nolan said. “Hence the complicated structure; Even if the story, once again, is very simple.”

Nolan explained that this complicated storytelling structure is all in service of authentically portraying an important moment in World War II.

“This is an essential moment in the history of the Second World War,” Nolan said. “If this evacuation had not been a success, Great Britain would have been obliged to capitulate.”

Dunkirk opens in theaters on July 21.

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1 Comment

  1. Susan

    March 1, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Actually it was the magazine writer’s text that mentioned single names for ground, sea and air. Out of the main cast, ground has Fionn Whitehead (who Nolan elsewhere called the star), Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles and the officers Kenneth Branagh and James D’Arcy. Sea starts with Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Barry Keoghan and Tom Glynn-Carney. Air has Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden. Those are the 11 ensemble cast members listed in Warner Brothers Dunkirk press release.

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