Thursday, 27 July 2017

OJ's Movie Review - Dunkirk

In Nolan we trust?

So Dunkirk is the great Christopher Nolan's first film based on a true story, the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II. No dreams, no memories, no sci-fi; and yet completely Nolan. 
   The first thing I have to mention is, of course, the directing. If you've seen Nolan's films and enjoy his aesthetic, his style and direction then Dunkirk hits all the right beats in that regard and more. I really felt like I was in this film. I felt like I was on the windy overcast beach, I felt like I was aboard the little English boat, I felt like I was clinging to the wing of a Spitfire. There was no Hollywood fluff, research had been done; things looked and sounded like it is. So like what I said about Interstellar, this film was more like an experience than a movie. Helping this, of course, is yet another amazing score by Hans Zimmer, using a constant ticking throughout and tense musical tones build up a perfect atmosphere.

   Acting wise, Dunkirk has a stellar cast with Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy, alongside newcomers like Barry Keoghan,  Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles of all people. But one of the interesting choices Christopher Nolan has made with Dunkirk is that there isn't a great deal of dialogue; there are conversations and lines obviously but mostly you have to engage with the film through visuals alone and that's where the actors do really well with their literal acting in expressions, how they carry themselves and reactions to things; all hard to do but I felt they all did a really great job.

  Now, something I have to say about Dunkirk is that it has a very unorthodox narrative. There isn't really a beginning, middle, and end; neither is there really a main character. I felt that this sometimes worked but other times I felt a little lost into where and when we were in the film. So although the film looked and sounded great, the experimental style choices Nolan makes with the story didn't always work for me. I admit I wasn't particularly riveted during a lot of what is a true-story WWII battle. The two best parts for me was the opening, which I really loved; you're straight into the situation and I just really liked first act in general. Then my attention was refocused during the last act which I enjoyed and the very last few scenes were really well done. Don't get me wrong, there were moments and scenes during the main bulk which I enjoyed a lot but as a whole, the unusual nature of the plot and restrained dialogue didn't grab me.

  In the end, I'm very glad I've seen Dunkirk because it is a very unique film. It doesn't feel like a move, it feels like an experience, like a segment of life, literally an event, which this was. I've thought a lot about a rating and to be honest I feel like you can't fit this sort of film into any sort of rating system really but for the sake of habit, I will give it one. Anway, if you're a fan of Christopher Nolan or World War II, or cinema then you'll get a lot out of Dunkirk; if not, then I'd be really interested in what you think of the film as it proves to be quite controversial.


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