5 reasons to get excited for "Dunkirk"

Casey Chong

A scene from "Dunkirk".

Three years after Christopher Nolan released his visionary sci-fi epic "Interstellar", the acclaimed director is set to return with his latest movie called "Dunkirk".

Already positioned as one of the most anticipated summer movies of 2017, here are the five reasons why you should watch "Dunkirk" on the big screen next week!

1. Two words: Christopher Nolan


Christopher Nolan on the set of "Batman Begins".

His name alone should get everyone excited. Ever since he made his impressive black-and-white debut via 1998's "Following", Christopher Nolan's career has grown steadily from an independent filmmaker to one of the most sought-after Hollywood auteurs of today's generation. Over the course of his 19 years' worth of directing resume, Nolan rarely disappoints (at least from this reviewer's point-of-view) while his overall filmmaking qualities are often consistent, regardless if they are low-to-mid budget range ("Following", Memento", "Insomnia" and "The Prestige") or big-budget blockbusters ("The Dark Knight" trilogy, "Inception" and "Interstellar"). He always has his unique way of telling a story and knows how to immerse the viewers by making us emotionally invested in his characters. Whether he tackles a genre that is grounded in reality or fantasy, Nolan favours as many practical effects as possible (e.g. the rotating hallway fight scene in "Inception"). His old school style often results in scenes feeling more organic and authentic than relying heavily on CGI effects to accomplish the task.

2. This is Nolan's first war movie based on real-life events


A scene from "Dunkirk".

Although Christopher Nolan has stated during an interview with the Associated Press at CinemaCon that "Dunkirk" is "not a war film [but more of] a survival story and first and foremost a suspense film", it's difficult not to see this as a war movie at all. Whatever his reason is, "Dunkirk" marks his first movie based on actual events. After spending his career directing movies of various genres, it's finally nice to see him tackling a World War II subject for a change. If "Dunkirk" turns out to be as good as the hype suggests, this could be his ticket to secure the elusive first Oscar nomination for Best Director. For the record, the last time a Hollywood director won an Oscar for helming a World War II movie was Steven Spielberg for "Saving Private Ryan", while Mel Gibson was the recent director who got nominated for his World War II biopic "Hacksaw Ridge".

3. Shot in IMAX camera


Christopher Nolan filming with an IMAX camera on the set of "Dunkirk".

Move aside, Michael Bay. The current best director who knows how to utilise the IMAX camera well enough is none other than, you guessed it, Christopher Nolan. Whether it was the Michael Mann-level opening bank heist and the epic car chase in "The Dark Knight" or the mid-air airplane heist in "The Dark Knight Rises", Nolan's spectacular IMAX footage is always best experienced on the biggest screen possible. In "Dunkirk", Nolan has once again championed the use of the IMAX camera to shoot his latest movie. Imagine watching the war scenes shot in a combination of 65mm IMAX and 65mm large format cinematography. If there is one movie this year that is worth paying the hefty IMAX cinema ticket, "Dunkirk" should be on your next watchlist.

4. This movie will be told in a unique point-of-view


A dramatic scene from "Dunkirk".

Christopher Nolan is no doubt a fan of non-linear storytelling, as evidently seen in his movies like "Memento" and "The Prestige". The closest movie he ever tells a traditional yet straightforward narrative would be "Insomnia". At first glance, it seems as if Nolan would make "Dunkirk" in a good old-fashioned narrative structure, especially given its World War II setting, but as usual, Nolan loves the complexity and this is what you will get in "Dunkirk". According to the director himself via an interview with Premiere, he explained that "Dunkirk" is a triptych and it will be "told from three points of view including air (planes), land (on the beach) and the sea (the evacuation by the Navy)". Nevertheless, this is no doubt a fascinating point-of-view that could be a game changer for an otherwise typical World War II movie.

5. An all-star cast


Kenneth Branagh in "Dunkirk".

Christopher Nolan is no stranger to attracting recognisable and big-time talents to star in his movies. Likewise, "Dunkirk" continues the trend by featuring an all-star cast that includes Nolan regulars Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy as well as veteran actors Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance. Sure, many have been sceptical about Harry Styles (yes, that Harry Styles from One Direction) being included as one of the ensemble casts. Maybe Nolan has his own reason or perhaps by casting Harry Styles (also his acting debut) Nolan is able to attract the younger audiences to watch a World War II movie.

"Dunkirk" opens in cinemas nationwide on 20 July 2017.