You’ve never seen anything like this before.
Dunkirk is directed by Christopher Nolan and tells the real-life story of 400,000 Allied soldiers evacuating from the beaches of Dunkirk, France during World War II as they come under constant bombardment from the Germans.
From the first ten minutes, you know you are watching a film unlike any other that has been released this year, let alone in recent memory. This may not be Nolan’s best film to date, but it is his most masterfully crafted.
There are no glaring flaws about Dunkirk. However, it may be too slow for some. For those who want an intelligent, visceral, dramatic, human experience, look no further than this film.
From Kenneth Branagh to Mary Rylance to Cillian Murphy, not a single performance fails, not even that of Harry Styles. That’s right. A member of One Direction surprisingly gives an excellent performance in his breakout role. Fionn Whitehead, another newcomer, never once stumbles, either. A common praise of new, young actors, such as Dafne Keen (Logan), is their capacity to share the screen with veteran actors (in her case, Hugh Jackman) and shining in their own right. While Styles nor Whitehead are ever in the same frame as Branagh or Tom Hardy, or any other well-known actor in this film, there is no doubt they wouldn’t have been overshadowed by them.
Throughout the entire 106-minute runtime, you are in the middle of all the action. Few war movies are able to invoke the soldiers’ panic, adrenaline, and helplessness in the audience. When you hear the German planes coming for the men on the beach, your heart starts to race not just because you know your ears are about to split, but you feel their fear. The effect is largely the same when the story focuses on the three British fighter pilots as they battle enemy planes; you’re on the edge of your seat, you are right there in the cockpits with them. You don’t just watch Dunkirk, you experience every minute of it.
Before you are in your seat for long, you will realize that there won’t be that much dialogue. Rather than relying on exposition, Nolan used visuals, sound effects, and Hans Zimmer’s pounding, bombastic score to create suspense and tension. Nolan achieves this like a true master of their art. It is difficult enough to keep the audience on edge at all, but to pull that off with few words is even more challenging.
While it isn’t the most entertaining or rewatchable of Nolan’s filmography, Dunkirk is the most impressive. This is one you can’t miss.
Dunkirk gets an A+
“One of the things you do as a writer and as a filmmaker is grasp for resonant symbols and imagery without necessarily fully understanding it yourself.”-Christopher Nolan
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