|Scene from Dunkirk|
Whether or not Christopher Nolan's track record reflects it, he is one of those directors whose every film is worthy of Oscar buzz. Considering that he's only gotten one Best Picture nomination (Inception) in his lengthy career, this notion may not be entirely sound, but becomes clear when you understand what he's doing on a blockbuster level. He's often heady and creates cinema that is challenging while also being awe-inspiring and timeless. Not all of his films necessarily succeed at this, but even the problematic Interstellar has more than its fair share of moments. With his follow-up to the out of this world epic, he decides to go to war with Dunkirk. Today the first trailer dropped for the film, and it has everything that makes a Nolan teaser one of the best things to ever happen to trailers.
I'll admit that I fall on the scale of being a Nolan fanboy. To me, his filmography is not flawless, but full of irrefutable heights in current cinema. He almost serves as an appointment director in a time where that's becoming less true. I'll admit that maybe I sometimes am a little too irrational - once suggesting on here that The Dark Knight Rises was worthy of more Oscar attention. I since have accepted that it is an ambitious, flawed film that doesn't quite live up to the other two Batman movies. Still, you cannot argue with every other film that more than argues why he should be getting more Oscar buzz on a regular basis. Inception was great. Interstellar I felt came up short in Oscar nods. Now we're on Dunkirk, and my naive optimism is returning.
Considering that most of Nolan's cinema has been more about deception and messing with the crime drama aspect, it's interesting to see him go to war. In a time where those type of films have fallen off in Oscar circles (with the most recent significant entry being Unbroken), it does seem ambitious to think that Dunkirk is the film that gets him into the serious categories at the Oscars as well as possibly land him in the Best Picture race again and even possibly into the much coveted Best Director field. Much like how people irrationally thought that Leonardo DiCaprio was "snubbed" for never winning, there's a collective who think that Nolan is "snubbed" for never getting more than screenplay nominations.
Anyways, check out the trailer below:
Looks really good. Here's the plot according to IMDb:
Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain, Canada and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
For those who need some refresher, this is also the battle that the famous long take in Atonement was about. I don't know any more than what the trailer is telling, but there's a lot of perplexing images to pull from. For instance, why are there graves buried in the sand? Why is that man walking into the ocean? We don't actually see any war, but the images are so well timed that they produce an unassuming danger that has always benefited Nolan's work. While the font work is itself an auteur touch that we've seen in almost every teaser that he's released, it does produce some images that makes you want to see more. What happens when that attack starts?
I don't know how good this will be, nor do I wish to speculate on its Oscar chances. However, it is exciting to see more from Nolan, especially one that hides the fact that Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance are all in this movie. I don't even know if the rumor that he's going to shoot down an actual war plane is true. Still, the mythology around his productions only makes the final film seem more interesting. What lies in store? This is how teaser trailers should be produced, and I feel that things can go either way from here. For now, we'll have the allure of the unseen, and that is enough to make this a runaway success.