FILM 1798: DUNKIRK
TRIVIA: According to actor-director Kenneth Branagh, roughly 30 Dunkirk survivors, who were in their mid-90s, attended the premiere in London. When asked about the film, they felt that it accurately captured the event but that the soundtrack was louder than the actual bombardment, a comment that greatly amused director Christopher Nolan.
Christopher Nolan, along with his wife Emma Thomas and a friend, made the crossing from England to Dunkirk on a boat, the way the civilians would have done during the original evacuation. Nolan said it took 19 hours because of sea conditions.
After first-hand accounts of the Dunkirk evacuation revealed to Christopher Nolan how young and inexperienced the soldiers were, he decided to cast young and unknown actors for the beach setting.
Director Christopher Nolan rode in the Spitfire shown in the movie in order to get a sense of the aerial feel of the fighter plane, and to help him shoot and provide a realistic experience of the dogfights.
Told from three points of view: on the beach with the infantry (including Fionn Whiteheadand Harry Styles), the evacuation by the navy (featuring Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance, showing how civilians came to the rescue) and then in the air (with Tom Hardyengaging in plane combat). Speaking about the narrative structure in "Premiere" magazine, Christopher Nolan stated: "For the soldiers who 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 is very simple. Do not repeat it to the studio: it will be my most experimental film."
The ticking sounds that serve as a crucial theme on the film's score were recorded by composer Hans Zimmer from one of director Christopher Nolan's own pocket watches. He then put the sounds into synthesizers and altered them in different ways for the soundtrack.
Charles Lightoller, the most senior surviving officer of the RMS Titanic, participated in the Dunkirk evacuation with his private motor yacht, "The Sundowner". The craft has been preserved by the Ramsgate Maritime Museum in England.
Dunkirk (2017) is the seventh film between Christopher Nolan and Michael Caine after Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Interstellar (2014). Caine appears in an uncredited voice cameo (he's the voice on the radio talking to a Royal Air Force officer early in the film) . Caine previously portrayed a Royal Air Force officer in the movie Battle of Britain.
The scene in which Tom Hardy's character's Spitfire lands on Dunkirk beach was real; done on location with an actual Spitfire in flight, and was the first time a plane landed on that beach since 1940. After the scene was completed, however, the Spitfire became stuck in the sand. There was subsequently a frantic rush to get the valuable Spitfire out off the beach before the incoming tides could damage it.
The film was shot on the actual beach at Dunkirk where the evacuation took place. When scouting for the film, director Christopher Nolan found a button from an English soldier's uniform in the sand.