A new fifteen-second TV spot from Christopher Nolan’s war movie Dunkirk puts the spotlight on Tom Hardy and the movie’s exciting dogfighting scenes. Dunkirk tells the harrowing true story of one of the pivotal events of World War II, the evacuation of 400,000 British and Allied troops who were pinned down by the Germans on the beaches of the titular French city. The evacuation required a combination of naval vessels and civilian ships to shuttle the soldiers across the English Channel to safety while under attack by the German Luftwaffe.

Naturally, along with land and sea action, there’s a major air component to the story. This is some of the movie’s most anticipated elements; to get the most realistic dogfights possible, the famously CGI-averse Nolan used real Spitfire aircraft (some with altered paint-jobs masquerading as German Messerschmidts) and filmed them engaging in mock battles over the English Channel.

The new TV spot from Warner Bros. gives just a small taste of the thrilling action that takes place as RAF pilots fly in to defend soldiers and ships against the attacking German aircraft. We get a glimpse of Tom Hardy’s pilot character Farrier, then the movie’s heroic survival story is teased when one of the pilots ditches his damaged Spitfire in the drink and struggles to get out as the cockpit fills with water. Skipper Mark Rylance spots the downed plane and, heedless of the danger to himself, declares “We may be able to help him.” The rescue angle is also spotlighted in this recent poster, below.

dunkirk poster ship Dunkirk TV Spot Showcases Tom Hardy In Incredible Dogfight

An extended look at the dogfight scenes was offered in the 7-minute IMAX prologue that ran ahead of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (the space battle sequences in Star Wars were partially inspired by the same classic aerial combat movies that inspired Nolan). The intense footage showed Tom Hardy looking incredibly cool and unflappable while he and his wingman were engaged with a German fighter, and climaxed with Hardy’s plane taking damage and the engine shutting off in mid-air (developments that failed to put a dent in Hardy’s business-like British aplomb).

Nolan’s intention here is to put audiences as much as possible right inside the action, and the dogfight scenes with their inside-the-cockpit intimacy look like they will achieve that. Nolan’s use of IMAX cameras, including a handheld model he was able to squeeze into tight quarters, should increase the sense of immersion.

Though the movie clearly wants to be as realistic as possible, Nolan has stayed away from depicting bloody carnage of the type showcased in R-rated war movies like Saving Private Ryan, preferring to emphasize the story’s survival element over detailed cataloging of the gruesome impact of combat. Clocking in at under two hours, Dunkirk promises to be a thrillingly tight burst of harrowing action and uplifting heroism.

Next: Dunkirk: Why Is Christopher Nolan’s War Movie Rated PG-13?

Source: Warner Bros.

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