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New Nolan Film Is Apparently About The Evacuation of Dunkirk

It’s been widely understood that Christopher and Jonathan Nolan were working on something new and big that was distinctly their own and distinctly not a sequel. (The Dark Knight 4 anyone?!?) Variety recently reported that Warner Bros. would be releasing an untitled movie by Christopher Nolan movie on July 21, 2017. Couple this with interesting news out of France and I think we may know what The Nolans might just be up to.

If you trip over here – you will find a lot of French. Once you get a French code breaker to help you out (or Google Translate) you will quickly learn that the town of Dunkirk has been gloating about a “world renowned director” coming their direction for a while now. They also let slip, after a recent scouting trip, that the director in question was without a doubt Christopher Nolan. And that the movie in question could only be about the British evacuation of Dunkirk… Which is a pretty cool story, that’s for sure.

Ooooh. I also just found out that Tom Hardy (Revenant anyone?), Kenneth Branagh, and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) are all on board to join the film. Not only that, but Nolan plans to use a combination of IMAX 65 mm and 65mm large format film for the shoot. This will definitely make certain that as many people as possible see the movie in IMAX theaters. Speaking of which, I spoke to the head VP at IMAX this past weekend (I kid you not) about Star Wars and the lake of celluloid at my location, as well as the less than impressive number of IMAX specific shots from the film. And it was really interesting conversation that I will tell you about another time. He offered me tickets to see the film on celluloid – but not the plane tickets to get there, and so I didn’t go – but he assured me that the viewing experience would be nearly identical. Regardless, hopefully Nolan will film the whole of the film in the IMAX large format neg. Definitely will make seeing it on the big big screen worth while.

dunkirk1Anyway, if you are unfamiliar with the story about the evacuation of Dunkirk, here is the basic run down. Hitler’s Blitzkrieg hammered Europe so quickly into submission that it shoved most of the mainland’s military might and minds into a single corner at Dunkirk. Mercifully (did I just attribute mercy to Hitler?!) the Germans were given the approval to cease attacking the trapped and helpless French and British military forces and civilians alike. This gave the Brits an opportunity to begin planning an evacuation without informing their French counterparts. On May 20 the British began formulating Operation Dynamo, led by Vice-Admiral Bertram Ramsay. But it was widely thought that nothing but a miracle could have saved the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the channel. “Nothing but a miracle can save the BEF now,” said General Alan Brooke.

Initially the leaders of the evacuation estimated that about 45,000 men could be evacuated in 48 hours. Instead the operation was to become the biggest evacuation in military history. Basically all of Britain scrambled to the rescue when a call was sent out for as many naval vessels as possible to help the Royal Navy. But basically any ship that could get close enough to shore was good enough to lend a hand. I think the first day there was something like 8,000 soldiers saved. But in the next eight days a whopping total of 338,226 Allied soldiers were brought back across the Channel while under attack. I think the most amazing thing about this story was that hundreds of thousands of people stood and waited patiently to be rescued while the Germans pounded the crap out of the city. Signaller Alfred Baldwin recalled: “You had the impression of people standing waiting for a bus. There was no pushing or shoving.” 200k men were rescued from the Dunkirk Mole – which was a long wooden jetty – the rest were rescued on the beach. One vessel in particular was attacked by six different German submarines and other attack vessels, but still managed to limp back to England with their human cargo safely.

It seems like a pretty incredible story – as far as movie material goes. But a part of me feels like maybe it’s yet another Monuments Men. Good story… but um, there was a dash of ‘who cares’ coupled with a poorly executed idea and you end up with a flop. Obviously the Nolans will write a heck of a story into and around the idea. But even Churchill commented that “Wars are not won by evacuations”. And so I do wonder how this movie is going to end on an up beat seeing as though all of England assumed they were next to be invaded. I’m sure it will be a good movie. But seems like a pretty huge departure for the Christopher Nolan. I wonder if there will be a tesseract that will ferry people from Dunkirk over to Dover? An infinite dimension machine that appears out of nowhere and allows the retreating army to escape undetected. And then it brings them to modern day England to fight ISIS… or something. I’m not a writer. What do I know? Regardless, I’ll join you at the theaters on July 21st to see what we will see!

 

 

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