Halftime Leisure

Trailer Takes: Dunkirk, It Comes At Night, and The Dark Tower

May 10, 2017

Photo: imdb

Dunkirk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7O7BtBnsG4


Graham: Of all of the promising films coming out this summer (and there are plenty), I am most excited for this one. Christopher Nolan is my favorite director and I have no qualms with passionately defending every single one of his works. Dunkirk is interesting because it takes away one of the most divisive aspects of Nolan’s filmmaking: his storytelling. Nolan loves telling mind-bending narratives, and when he hits, there is no one in the business who’s better at playing with the audience’s mind (The Prestige and Memento are the best examples of this). However, when the scale is too grand, he can stumble. Because Dunkirk is essentially a historical war film, Nolan can focus on what he thrives at: creating huge, realistic, and intense set-pieces. When I went to go see Kong: Skull Island, there was a four minute clip from this film that played ahead of Kong, and quite honestly was better than the two hours of dreck that followed. Dunkirk looks unbelievable: it’s big, loud, and immersive. I love the fact that Nolan is using actual destroyers and practical effects instead of CGI. The result should be rousing. This trailer certainly conveys the intensity I felt in the theater while watching the four minute clip. I can’t wait to see how he puts this film together and what he adds to the war-movie genre. I just pray it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of superhero and franchise films.

Emily: Given my love for WWII films and Nolan’s remarkable talent, I hardly needed a trailer (let alone a good one) to persuade me to watch this movie. Then, for all of the incredible content of this trailer, it was the negative space that captivated me the most. We catch the unmistakable, iconic glimpses of the beaches, soldiers, ships, and fighter planes—but only in short bursts, broken by stark silence. We know that the action is coming, but we don’t know when. What seems to be a mundane meal scene suddenly shifts to an attack and a struggle to stay alive. All the while, the ticker goes on, going and going and counting down—but to what? More than the action or the imagery, the waiting captures the essence of war tension, and the waiting makes this trailer thrilling—and so waiting for Dunkirk to hit the big screen will be a suspenseful challenge in itself.


It Comes At Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YOYHCBQn9g


Graham: Are they zombies? Please say they’re not zombies. I love the atmosphere in the trailer and the fact that it relies more on straight horror than jump scares. That shot of the girl bleeding into the boy’s mouth after kissing him got quite a visceral reaction out of me. I really don’t want this to be another standard post-apocalyptic movie. I think it could be a really neat twist on the genre to have more realistic antagonists instead of your typical crazed-infected-zombie villains. The trailer promises lots of tension between Jason Clarke and the rest of the characters, so I’m hoping that It Comes At Night is more of a psychological thriller than a standard horror movie.

Emily: So, we see the horror movie staples: a forest, an isolated family, gas masks and covered faces, some significance of the nighttime darkness. The scariest trope of all is that the women in this film never seem to leave the house, or at least the front yard, as far as the scenes in this trailer go (and I’m pretty sure we see them in bed more often than we see them discussing the issue at hand). Feminist complaints aside, this trailer does have some merit. The mysterious, threatening force subtly permeates each frame, slowly creeping up on the family as the horror steadily creeps up on the audience. At first, it seems that something is out there; later, we realize that the threat is inside. I’m intrigued to learn more about whatever haunts (or plagues or enters?) this family’s life, and why the family remains in such a threatening location—but isn’t that always the question in horror movies, against all common logic? I’m certainly curious about this movie, and I see some potential, but it will take more than just that trailer to convince me that this film is anything beyond the ordinary.


Dark Tower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjwfqXTebIY


Graham: First off, shoutout to the photo of the Overlook Hotel at 40 seconds into the trailer! From what I understand, some of Stephen King’s books do have overlapping stories and characters, so I’m not sure if that’s just a cool Easter Egg or a sign that we’re about to get a King Cinematic Universe. I have not read The Dark Tower series, so I don’t have much invested in this. Unfortunately, the trailer is just looks a little…generic. After so much production trouble, I would think that The Dark Tower would look a little more memorable. But the presence of both Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey will probably get me to go see it, if only because Elba’s action scenes look pretty great. It is a good time to be a Stephen King fan.

Emily: Unfortunately, I have not read The Dark Tower, either—so I’d better hurry to the bookstore, because this trailer has me hooked. World-creation is always a fascinating endeavor, and it’s even more so when you have a master like Stephen King using that imaginary realm to comment on the realities of this world. Firearms are certainly a controversy right now, so I greatly appreciated the commentary on the psychology of using one, rather than just a bunch of bullet-filled action shots. Elba’s narration over the dynamic cinematography is pure poetry in the trailer, so I’m expecting this film to be a work of art with a message—I could be too optimistic, but even if that’s the case, I can’t wait to see The Dark Tower.

This post has been updated to reflect the removal of a contributor. 

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