Since emerging as one of the premier directors of the 21st century, Christopher Nolan has mainly proven adept at handling the superhero and sci-fi genres, as illustrated by his commercial and critical success with the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar. For his next film, Dunkirk, Nolan is trying his hand at something different. The project is a World War II drama based on the true story of a rescue operation to save the lives of Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain, Canada, and France. Nolan filmography mainstays such as Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy are part of the ensemble, which also includes Oscar winner Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, and Harry Styles.

Warner Bros. got the ball rolling on Dunkirk marketing earlier this year with a brief teaser trailer that looked to establish the tone of the picture. Now, the next wave of advertising is getting underway. A seven-minute Dunkirk prologue plays before IMAX screenings of this month’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; and for those who can’t make it to an IMAX location this holiday season (but still want a new look at Dunkirk), the studio has now released a second preview online. You can watch it above.

This new trailer expands upon what was shown in the initial teaser, providing viewers with a brief outline of the narrative. There are 400,000 soldiers stranded on the beach, and they are under constant threat since their enemy is sending constant aerial assaults to pick them off like fish in a barrel. The men are virtually helpless as they deal with a perilous situation, and are desperate for transportation off the beach so they can return home safely. At the onset, Dunkirk is being set up as more of an ensemble piece, but certain actors are prominently featured in the footage. Hardy looks to be a German pilot tasked with killing the Allies, while the likes of Branagh, Murphy, and Rylance are all on the same side hoping to survive a truly harrowing experience.

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It should come as no surprise that Nolan once again appears to have delivered a film that is worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. He has always been an ambitious one, and Dunkirk could be his strongest effort yet on a technical level. The film suitably seems to be epic in terms of scale and scope – and may very well feature the most sophisticated set pieces in Nolan’s career (which would be no small feat). A report from this past summer indicated that WB even acquired a vintage WWII plane for Nolan to crash while shooting an action sequence, so the filmmaker is continuing his commitment to filming as much in-camera as possible. The amount of practical effects and props in Dunkirk will only augment the film’s gritty, realistic feel, which is appropriate considering the subject matter.

World War II is no stranger to the multiplex; just in November both Hacksaw Ridge and Allied were released. However, seeing the conflict through Nolan’s lens should be a treat for moviegoers. With its fact-based origins, Dunkirk is shaping up to be one of the more emotional and riveting stories he’s told so far. A common criticism of Nolan’s earlier works is that they tend to be a little too cold and distant to truly tug at the heartstrings, but a tale of tremendous adversity and hope in the darkest of times could do the trick. WB is understandably confident in Dunkirk‘s ability to connect with audiences, positioning it as one of their big summer releases next year. And with the WWII setting, Dunkirk might even be Nolan’s big breakthrough at the Oscars.

Source: Warner Bros.