Christopher Nolan approaches his stories from an unconventional angle in regards to structure. It’s built into the very fabric of Memento and this is what made it evergreen, there are layered cross-cuts plentiful in Inception, and The Prestige is full of flashbacks that require you to pay close attention to exactly when what you’re seeing is taking place. Now he is bringing a similar method to Dunkirk, his first war film, which you will see this year.
Nolan spoke with a French magazine called Premiere (via The Playlist) about the “complicated structure” of his new movie.
“The film is told from three points of view. The air (planes), the land (on the beach) and the sea (the evacuation by the navy). For the soldiers embarked in the conflict, the events took place on different temporalities. On land, some stayed one week stuck on the beach. On the water, the events lasted a maximum day; And if you were flying to Dunkirk, the British spitfires would carry an hour of fuel. To mingle these different versions of history, one had to mix the temporal strata. Hence the complicated structure; Even if the story, once again, is very simple.”
We also know which actors will be the anchors of those three separate perspectives. Harry Styles will be on the beach, Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy will be on the sea, and Tom Hardy will be in the air. Dunkirk will hit theaters on July 21, 2017.