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A match made in heaven! Why Christopher Nolan + a war film = something we're really excited about


He's a master of cinema and now Christopher Nolan is tackling the war movie. Here's why the two are a good match.

Nolan’s next cinema blockbuster, Dunkirk, is highly anticipated by film fans all over the world, not least because it sees the iconic director take on one of the pivotal events of World War II. Here’s why we think this genre and this mastermind are a good match.

It's a genre Nolan hasn't tackled before

Nolan has already mastered a variety of genres in his career already. Of course, he’s best known for his sci-fi pictures Inception and Interstellar, two incredibly different films as one uses the inner workings of the mind as a setting while another uses time and outer space sci-fi elements.

Even the psychological and mystery thriller genre has been executed by Nolan, particularly with one of his first films Memento, as well as the superb illusionist mystery The Prestige. What is most impressive about Nolan films is the way films do not stick to one film genres: Inception is just as much a thriller as it is a sci-fi, and The Prestige is just as psychological as Memento

Of course, nothing blends genres quite like the Dark Knight trilogy, all of which are psychological, dark superhero movies but also crime films too. Having created what is considered one of the best film trilogies, as well as the best superhero trilogy, it was only a matter of time before Nolan’s next genre would be the epic war film.

He's an auteur

An auteur is a term that describes a filmmaker who uses the same or similar recognisable styles and themes throughout their line of work. For example, you can recognise a Christopher Nolan film from how it is made. Therefore, whether Nolan takes on a new genre or something he has done before, there will be Nolanisms throughout Dunkirk that will make it stand out amongst other war films.

It'll be a different type of war film

Dunkirk will not necessarily follow a typical war setup. The events of Dunkirk are interesting in that it is a moment from war where no one traditionally ‘won’, but was a period of a few days that affected history greatly.

In the same way that The Dark Knight was psychological as well as a superhero film, Dunkirk will explore emotions and time, presenting the actions and people involved in wars in a different way than war films typically do.


Back in 2010, Inception started a new wave of trailer and cinema clichés. The iconic BRAAAAM (BROOM? BRAAANM? Who knows the spelling) was used to create tension, just like the original sounds created by Hans Zimmer did in the film.

Zimmer has created some famous scores from The Lion King to Gladiator to Nolan's very own The Dark Knight, and is recognised for his use of instruments and way these instruments can heighten tense moments or make action scenes exhilarating. War films need music to match the action and strain of the events, so this collaboration between Nolan and Zimmer is highly awaited.

The cinematography

Nolan makes full use of his status as one of cinemas current greatest directors, using different cameras for different purposes (multi-camera for stunts, single for drama, etc…) and minimising how much CGI goes into his films.

Furthermore, Nolan is an advocate of celluloid film as opposed to digital for a better quality picture. Therefore scenes are always to their biggest possible scale, capture everything Nolan intends and look beautiful.

Lastly, Nolan’s films are created for IMAX audiences in mind. Shot on special cameras, Nolan’s films are made for the audience and their cinema experience. In Dunkirk we can expect the action to zoom between the sea, sky and beaches, fully immersing audiences in the overwhelming scale of this world-changing conflict.

Be sure to catch Dunkirk in 2D and/or IMAX from 21st July in Cineworld.

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.