Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Harry Styles gets part in Dunkirk. Nolanistas blow their top.

The One Direction star will be waiting on the beach for the little boats

Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 21:43


I quite like the idea of Christopher Nolan directing a film based on the evacuation of Dunkirk. Chris is a great director of massed chaos and he should do a good job of bringing order to that disordered, heroic miracle. I can’t say I’m all that happy to hear that he’s writing the film without any contribution from his brother, but we shall give him the benefit of the doubt until we see the picture in summer of 2017.

He certainly deserves praise for offering Harry Styles a role opposite Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh. It’s not that I have any particular reason to think the One Direction star a great actor (though pop stars often are). I just love the way this has caused heads-on-fire fury among the director’s famously self-important fans. If you haven’t encountered the Nolanistas online, they tend to be male, youngish and convinced that the director of Batman Begins is a genius to compare with Jean Renoir. There are many places to enjoy their discussions online, but the old-school boards of IMDb will do as well as anywhere. “Christopher Nolan is just 1 of a kind. Alive legend, only light side of all todays Hollywood,” Carteagle comments in a post that goes absolutely nowhere. “Will go down as the biggest hollywood director ever!!!” Samjay suggests. And so on.

The greatest genius since Leonardo goes for a stroll 

Obviously, you get this sort of thing with all kinds of artistic professionals. But the bros who gather to praise Nolan are of a particular quality. There is a sense of desperate striving for importance (both theirs and his). If we can get all his films into the the IMDb top 50 then we will have gained contemporary apotheosis. That sort of thing.

Like a great many such online enthusiasts, they self-importantly look down noses at much popular entertainment that appeals to younger women. (Just look at the unjustified degrees of hate directed at the Twilight films for example.) So, when news emerged that Styles had been offered a part, all hell broke lose in the Nolan clubhouse. “Nope. There goes the prestige factor. LOL. How horrible.” Shredder 8 says with surely a bitter “LOL”. Rooney Mara Lover says: “What a terrible, horrible casting choice…” To be fair, it wasn’t just boys getting in a tizzy. “What is wrong with the world? Harry styles is in a Nolan movie, people are getting INSPIRED by Kim Kardashian. What a terrible time,” Hedi said on Twitter. Ah, come on, guys. 

All of this took me back to the fury when it was announced that Anne Hathaway — that GURL from The Princess Diaries — was cast as Batwoman or Catlady or whatever she was in whichever film she was in. Anyway, nice trolling, Nolan. I am looking forward to Dunkirk even more now.