When it was revealed that Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (based on the infamous World War II battle and subsequent evacuation) would be PG-13, some raised questions about why the movie didn’t join the likes of Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge and showing the sheer brutality of the war in an incredibly visceral way. Nolan has just offered an explanation that the rating was a decision he made going into production.
Nolan was asked specifically if the PG-13 rating was mandated or if he knew going in that he’d be making sure that it wasn’t R-rated. Nolan answered in no uncertain terms that the former was indeed the case:
All of my big blockbuster films have been PG-13. It’s a rating I feel comfortable working with totally. Dunkirk is not a war film. It’s a survival story and first and foremost a suspense film. So while there is a high level of intensity to it, it does not necessarily concern itself with the bloody aspects of combat, which have been so well done in so many films. We were really trying to take a different approach and achieve intensity in a different way. I would really like lots of different types of people to get something out of the experience.
Thus far, Nolan has only made 3 R-rated movies in his career – Following, Memento, and Insomnia. It should be noting that that last one came out in 2002, whereas the majority of his movies – and his most well-known – are hard PG-13s at best. Even then, Nolan is one of the few directors whose body of work has inspired enough confidence that Warner Brothers would likely have kept the rating, budget, and scale of the film the same if Nolan’s movie actually needed to be R-rated.
Dunkirk breaches theaters on July 21, 2017. The film stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, James D’Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, and Tom Glynn-Carney.
Source: The Associated Press