Possibly to make it more of a suspense thriller, rather than a typical war film. (Thank you Napoleon Wilson for pointing me in a direction).
You save a lot of money on paper,” he jokes about his 76-page script,
which is roughly half the length of his typical screenplays. “Dunkirk”
relies on visual imagery, not conversation, to propel the story, which
can be a gamble. The characters are blank slates who offer no details
about the lovers they left back home, their senses of humor or their
previous heroic deeds.
“My idea was that, instead of trying to explain through dialogue why
we should care about them, we use the language of suspense — we use
the language of the Hitchcock thriller — to create immediate empathy
with the people on-screen by virtue of their physical situations,” he
One could argue that using certain words or certain words too often, would take away from/pull us away from the sheer suspense and terror the viewer experiences with the soldiers, because it reminds us of "time", -a specific time and although there are surely references to no doubt point to Dunkirk and World War II during the film, they are subtle and aren't the most important thing.
AP: What kind of fascination does time hold for you as a filmmaker?
It’s a sometimes underrated element of the medium, isn’t it?
Nolan: It is and it’s a misunderstood element of the medium.
Conventional film grammar has an unbelievably sophisticated approach
to modulating an audience’s sense of time. The films I’ve made, I’ve
tried to grab a hold of what in most films is a subtlety. It’s there
but the audience isn’t particularly conscious of it. I’ve tried to
take it and use it for the tool that it is because I think it’s a tool
that’s unique to cinema. The idea that we can go to the same movie
theater, look at the same screen for the same period of time, and we
could be watching something that represents hours or we could be
watching something that represents millennia, and we’re fine with
that. Cinema has this amazing ability to change and manipulate
people’s feelings about time while they’re watching a film.
One film review that I think Describes it well:
Dunkirk is overwhelming in an exceptional sort of way, a film that
demands close study of everything seen and heard. It’s a series of
functioning contradictions, walking a tightrope in a stomach-dropping
exercise of assured craftsmanship. It’s a film both timeless and
of-the-moment. Airy, yet packed to the brim. Fast, but reflective.
It’s a white-knuckle fable that strips the politics and gore of war
down to the most elemental and essential storytelling. This is a film
of fear, hope, and survival. The technical acumen, fleet-footed
pacing, traversing narratives, and insistence on precise artistry and
design make Dunkirk unlike any other blockbuster on the market. And
yet it learns and borrows from the great films, taking the time to
maximize its photographic, editorial, and musical elements to stirring