The latest trailer for Christopher Nolan‘s World War II movie Dunkirk opens on red alert: “What has happened,” a voiceover intones, “is a colossal military disaster.” What unfolds is the remarkable story of a mass rescue mission.
Nolan wrote and directed the movie, which takes place in 1940, when 400,000 Allied troops were surrounded on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, caught between the English channel at their backs and the German army on land. Civilian sailors joined the English navy and air force for an all-hands-on-deck evacuation operation.
The trailer moves forward with white-knuckle intensity, as the allied forces are subject to attack from land, sea and air. German planes strafe the beach, and the English soldiers who make it on to friendly ships are ambushed by German submarines. The rescue forces seem doomed as they sail towards the beaches.
Dunkirk stars Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and Fionn Whitehead; singer Harry Styles also makes a cameo. Hardy plays a pilot attempting to fight off German planes that prey on the soldiers stuck on Dunkirk’s beaches, while Murphy portrays a sailor who is picked up by a civilian ship after his vessel gets destroyed.
Nolan produced the film, out July 21st, with help from Emma Thomas.