Cinematographer Toby Oliver on Dunkirk
"We let you all down, didn’t we?"
Movies We Like is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, cinematographer Toby Oliver joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Christopher Nolan’s 2017 film Dunkirk.
We talk about Nolan’s decision to shoot on IMAX 65mm largely and how this affected the overall tone of the film and informed some of their decisions as to how it was shot. We chat about the nature of the story told across three separate time windows and how the structure gave us a fascinating perspective on how to look at this war story. We discuss the use of mostly new faces for the cast, barring a few key roles, and how that works effectively in a story with no real protagonist. We touch on Hans Zimmer and his tonal score and why it, paired with the incessant use of a ticking sound, is such a key part of the film. And we talk about Nolan’s insistence on using practical effects and why it likely helped inform the performances throughout the film by having real elements to which to react.
It’s a fascinating and powerful war film that feels very different and will be one to stand the test of time. We have a great time talking about it with Toby Oliver, as well as touching on his career. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel — when the movie ends, our conversation begins.
Welcome to Movies We Like
In each episode, co-hosts Andy Nelson and Pete Wright invite someone from inside the film industry to discuss their favorite films. What makes a movie inspirational to a cinematographer or a costume designer? Listen in to hear how these pros watch their favorite films.