The upcoming Dunkirk seems like an earlier generation’s idea of big-budget spectacle: a World War II film about the evacuation of encircled Allied troops shortly before the fall of France, filmed entirely in 70mm. But getting the chance to make a blockbuster this stridently old-fashioned is just the sort of thing you can do when you have as much clout (and as large of a fan base) as Christopher Nolan. Just think: If you use all the time and money you have to make a calling-card film on a shoestring budget; spend years getting a low-budget indie off the ground; make sure a famous director likes the indie enough to hire you as a director for the film he’s producing, despite the misgivings of the studio; parlay that film’s success into a superhero reboot project; make a sequel that becomes one of the most popular and celebrated films in its genre; and—voila!—after 20 years, you too can have your dream project handed to you on a silver platter, provided you have also made two or three more financially successful projects in the $150-200 million dollar range.

Coming after eight months of teaser trailers, the official trailer for Dunkirk doesn’t offer anything new (this is, after all, a straightforward war film), just more of it. More dive bombers, more desolate beaches, more aerial combat, more sinking ships, more ticking sounds, more men in peril. The ensemble cast includes Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance.

Advertisement

Dunkirk will open in celluloid-only venues on July 19, and in full-on wide release on July 21.