Christopher Nolan is making a war movie.

That’s pretty much all you can truly gather from our first look at Dunkirk, but it’s still a very effective announcement trailer, and it’s our first glimpse at the next film from one of the biggest marquee names in filmmaking right now.

It’s interesting to watch how Warner Bros. handles each new film from Nolan, because this is the Warner Bros. that I like the most. Under Bob Daly and Terry Semel, the studio spent its energy cultivating and rewarding long-term relationships with filmmakers. Without Warner Bros. and that specific attitude, Clint Eastwood would never have had the time and the safe space to become the filmmaker who finally delivered Unforgiven to the studio. I look back at how they treated Stanley Kubrick, and that’s pretty much the gold standard. They gave him time to develop material the way he developed material, and when he made a movie, they figured out how to sell the film that he delivered instead of telling him what to give them.

With Nolan, they have created a deal that gives him a fair amount of control as long as he works within agreed-upon budgets, and he is able to participate in not just the filmmaking, but the marketing and even choices about the distribution. Nolan has what most filmmakers crave, especially working at a big-budget level, and that’s control. That allows him to pursue passion projects, and because he’s bet big on some personal visions that have paid off (Inception and Interstellar), and because he’s managed the big franchise films so well (his Dark Knight movies), he is in the coveted position of being able to make his personal films on a grand scale.

That’s what Dunkirk feels like, and I’m curious to see what he brings to some fairly well-mined territory. We’ve seen a lot of war movies, and we’ve seen a lot of great filmmakers take their shot at the genre. I’m curious to see what it is about this particular subject or this particular story that got Nolan interested, and how he conveys that to an audience in a way that makes them just as interested.

This is, by definition, a tease. I still have no real idea what to expect from the film. But now Warner has planted a flag and made their announcement, and they’ve done it in fairly compelling fashion.

Dunkirk is coming, and will land in American theaters July 19, 2017.

A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.