Nolan Explains Why “Dunkirk” Is PG-13

While his first three films were rated R, filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s work has been operating entirely in the PG-13 arena since 2005’s “Batman Begins”.

With his World War Two epic “Dunkirk” on the way this Summer, it was expected the film would be an R – that was until the MPAA recently handed out a surprising PG-13 to the movie despite the subject matter.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Nolan explained why he went with a PG-13 rating and how he doesn’t really see the movie as a war film (and thus doesn’t need to show the gruesome violence and brutality of war) but rather a suspense thriller set during wartime:

“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.”

The triptych structure of the story explores the evacuation of Dunkirk from three perspectives – the young soldiers on land, the trained pilots in the air, and the commanders at sea.

Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Harry Styles star in the film which opens July 21st.