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Why Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan is the perfect choice to direct a war movie


Director Christopher Nolan seems to be the man who can do everything. Best known for his deft touch with non-linear narratives such as Memento, mind-bending movies like Inception and Interstellar, and of course as the man who put a new spin on the superhero movie with The Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan is now trying his hand at the war movie, in his telling of the dramatic true events at Dunkirk.

He might be swapping spaceships for spitfires, and Batman for bombs, but we think Christopher Nolan is the perfect person to give a fresh perspective on the war movie genre. Don’t believe us? Well here’s why…

He's a storytelling master

The real-life story of Dunkirk is truly a remarkable one, the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the eponymous French town in May and June 1940, so who better than Nolan to bring this to life? We’re not sure Dunkirk will have its events play out in reverse-order like Nolan classic Memento (see below), but this film in particular shows just how well he is able to weave a complex narrative into something completely coherent and dazzlingly unique.

We're certain he’ll bring some amount of innovative Nolan-ness to this World War II epic, and we can’t wait.

He's a technical genius

Most directors will shoot on digital these days, but Christopher Nolan is a little more old school, still preferring to shoot his films on film. Using a mixture of IMAX and 65mm film, Nolan has also got cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (with whom he worked to spectacular effect on Interstellar) involved, to make the visuals of Dunkirk really stand out.

Whilst the effects in Nolan’s films are undeniably spectacular, he is also a big fan of using practical effects where possible and has already reportedly spent mega bucks on refurbishing some real WWII-era ships to use on screen for that real authentic touch.

Enlisting the help of visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, who was tasked with making the incredible effects of Mad Max: Fury Road seem as real as possible, Nolan will bring incredible attention to detail and a passion for authenticity to what will likely be a stunning film.

He's no stranger to period films

With Dunkirk Nolan is tackling a real-life World War II evacuation and the trailers have indicated it will be aesthetically accurate to its historical setting.

Nolan is no stranger to period or historical films and he prides himself on making his films as visually accurate as possible. Mind-bending magician movie The Prestige was set in the late 19th century and although a very different film, and not based on a true story at all, Nolan ensured everything about it was authentic, believable, and fitting of the time period, proving he is just the man to do a war movie properly.

Authenticity is the key, particularly when bringing a true story to life, but he’s proved he can do it once so we don’t doubt that he can do it again.

He draws the A-list talent

Well known for casting the likes of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy in his movies, Nolan has enlisted the help of some of his old friends again, with both Hardy and Murphy starring in Dunkirk.

A host of other noted actors also appear including Bridge of Spies Oscar winner Mark Rylance and renowned thespian Kenneth Branagh, plus the much-talked-about big screen debut of One Direction’s Harry Styles.

Nolan has certainly assembled an eclectic bunch and he’s always able to bring the best out of his actors, so we don’t doubt the cast will do an amazing job. The fact that so many of the stars with whom Nolan works keep coming back to appear in his films shows just what an incredible director he is.

Why are you most excited about Christopher Nolan directing Dunkirk? Let us know @Cineworld. The movie is released on 21st July 2017.

Sarah Buddery is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.