Nolan's decision to shoot Dunkirk on IMAX 65mm film stock provides a richly immersive experience whose drama is heightened by his use of period airplanes and boats, thousands of extras and minimal deployment of computers.
Rather than focus on the stories of individuals, like Steven Spielberg's 1998 World War Two epic "Saving Private Ryan", or Mel Gibson's 2016 film "Hacksaw Ridge", Nolan said he wanted "Dunkirk" to convey communal heroism rather than individual acts. But while Nolan has a point, it may only be one that applies to movies like Dunkirk.
For the rest of us, Dunkirk is imperative viewing-not simply because it offers a vital history lesson, but because it reminds us how moving images and recorded sound, when orchestrated under the baton of a maestro, can work as a kind of teleportation.
"To me the most important thing that one can say about the movie and our connection to (Dunkirk, France) is the spirit of generosity", said Diane Andrasik, Dunkirk historian and former English teacher at Dunkirk High School. Really. The great tradition in American war films is to distinguish between soldiers in ways that accentuate our diverse, immigrant heritage. [Turns to Styles] I think you're the best at it, actually. "And so we sourced real planes, real boats". "I'm hoping to achieve a cumulative emotional effect through the film, by having you be engaged in a very intense struggle for survival", he says. "With so many people involved - 400,000 people on a beach, give or take - you discover a lot of radically different experiences", Nolan wrote in The Telegraph. "If you make a theatrical film, it's to be played in theaters".
Cast members Jack Lowden, Aneurin Barnard and Barry Keoghan also hit the premiere and Rainbow Room party with producer Emma Thomas and studio chief Kevin Tsujihara, as well as Spike Lee, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. One, aptly named Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), the film's supposed protagonist, reaches the beaches where thousands of men are lined up to be picked up by naval vessels that are either sunk by bombers or do not arrive. He's a young soldier that just wants to get to safety. We will feature some of them in our reporting.
The cast is uniformly excellent - yes, even Harry Styles. "They enter the story and from the very start can connect with the men who were trapped there on the ground at Dunkirk - not knowing if they will ever get out". Styles did just that. Styles looks right at home as he appears to have a flair for acting.
One wishes Nolan and Hans Zimmer didn't take such a bombastic approach to music in every film of his. "Harry who?" he jokes. And so your admiration and respect for the idea of any civilian willingly, knowingly getting on their boat and heading out into those waters to make that crossing into a war zone - I mean it's unthinkably courageous. "My children knew who he was, but I hadn't seen much of him, because of my age".
The star Harry has made his first film with Christopher Nolan, the writer-director-producer of the film.