Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Last night I went to see Dunkirk and it was probably the most immersive movie I have ever seen.  The evacuation of hundreds of Allied soldiers from the seaside town of Dunkirk after the German invasion of France is told from three different perspectives: land, sea, and air.  On land we follow a British soldier (Fionn Whitehead) as he attempts to evacuate from the beach on one ship after another over the course of a week.  On sea we follow a civilian (Mark Rylance) who takes his boat across the Channel to rescue as many soldiers as he can in one day.  In the air we follow an RAF pilot (Tom Hardy) as he provides air support for one intense hour.  The events are portrayed in a non-linear manner and we see some of the same events happen multiple times but the three timelines eventually converge for a dramatic conclusion.  The audience is dropped in the middle of the action with very little exposition or character development and I've heard many people criticize the movie for not having a plot but in my opinion the story is survival.  I loved all of the small acts of heroism that are portrayed and Christopher Nolan lets these events unfold without a lot of dialogue or manipulative music cues (more about that later).  The cinematography is brilliant (I wish I could have seen it in 70mm) and I felt like I was in the middle of the fighting, especially the aerial dogfights.  I frequently found myself holding my breath and, at one point when the cockpit of a downed plane was filling with water, I realized that I was lifting my head up to avoid drowning myself!  The action is unrelenting from the opening scene until the final credits and much of it involved practical stunts rather than CGI.  Hans Zimmer's remarkable score, which includes a synthesized ticking clock, is incredibly ominous with a sense of urgency that adds greatly to the tension.  The large cast does a great job but there are a few standouts for me:  Kenneth Branagh has a very poignant scene as a naval commander coordinating the evacuation, Harry Styles is much better than anticipated as a soldier on the beach (his character is a bit of a jerk but he plays him well), and Cillian Murphy is quite convincing as a shell-shocked soldier rescued from the water.  This film just blew me away!  In my opinion, it is a masterpiece and it definitely needs to be seen on the big screen!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...