Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Dunkirk is directed by Christopher Nolan, and it stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Harry Styles. It’s based on the true story of the Dunkirk evacuation that took place during the second World War. The film tells the story of the evacuation from three points of view, a soldier on the beach, a pilot in the air, and a civilian on his boat. There has been a lot of anticipation surrounding this film, so was it worth the wait?
Many critics out there are calling Dunkirk the best film of the year so far. That’s a sentiment that, unfortunately, I do not agree with. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Dunkirk. It’s a great movie, but it has issues, and it’s certainly not the best movie of the year. The great things in this movie (of which there are many) easily out weigh the bad. I wanted this to be a fantastic movie. I wanted to think all of the things that many other critics out there are saying, but unfortunately, that’s just not the experience I had with the movie. It’s undoubtedly a great film, and I’ll definitely see it again at some point, but that doesn’t make it the best movie of the year.
Let’s talk about the things that I really liked about Dunkirk. First and foremost, it’s a beautiful film to look at. The cinematography here was absolutely breathtaking. Nolan, throughout all of his films, has really learned how to craft a perfect shot. There are many shots throughout this movie that I really found myself blown away by. It’s not because they were crazy and complex shots. No, they were very simple. There’s one in particular that I want to reference, but in fear of spoiling the movie, I won’t. Hoyte Van Hoytema was the Director of Photography for this film, and he did a fantastic job. He’s worked with Nolan before on Interstellar, and I hope to see the two of them work together again.
One of the best things about this film was the massive amounts of tension that it built. Dunkirk was one of the most nerve-racking films I’ve seen in a while. From start to finish, this film keeps you on the edge of your seat. Legitimately, Dunkirk was a more thrilling than many of the “scary movies” that come out today. Over the course of its runtime, it builds an incredible amount of tension, particularly in the scenes involving the air force pilot.
While the original score by Hans Zimmer isn’t one you’ll be getting stuck in your head or that you’ll be going out of your way to look up and listen to again, it was very effective in the movie. The score in Dunkirk frequently makes use of the sound of a ticking clock, which in and of itself will make people nervous. The sound of a ticking clock, for some reason, just really gets into peoples’ heads, and Zimmer really played with that in his score. The film already had immense amounts of tension in it, and Zimmer’s score only added to that. Hans Zimmer has undoubtedly become one of the best working composers we have today, and he almost never fails to deliver a fitting score to the films he works on.
Where this film let me down a bit was in its story. The odd thing is, it didn’t let me down with the story that it told. The story they were telling in this film was an important and interesting one. What let me down was the way they told it. As I mentioned earlier, the film is told through three perspectives, a soldier on the beach (Fionn Whitehead), a pilot in the air (Tom Hardy), and a civilian on his boat (Mark Rylance). All three stories were interesting, and I was curious to see what was going to happen with them, but when put together, these three stories made the film feel disjointed. Each of these stories was told on their own timeline. One took place over the course of a week, one was in a day, and the last was in only an hour. Despite that, all three stories are being told side by side as the film moves forward. That could’ve worked had they kept the timelines separate, but at several points, they (almost unnecessarily) try to tie them together with certain characters or events. It made the timelines a bit confusing, and in all honesty, the whole thing felt a bit gimmicky. It felt like it was a Christopher Nolan film struggling to be a World War II film, or vice versa. Nolan's films are often very complex, and feature interesting storytelling methods like that. That's a big reason why Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors. However, I don't think that was the best way to go about telling this particular story. I can't help but feel like Dunkirk would've worked more if they had picked one of these three stories to tell, or if they had shown us the events of all three in chronological order.
Dunkirk is a technical masterpiece. The cinematography is breathtaking, the score works brilliantly in the film, the sound design was very well done, and the actors give great performances. I would recommend seeing Dunkirk on the biggest screen with the best sound you can find, because as far as the technical aspects go, this film is an experience. Is the film perfect? No, not by any means. The way the story was told made it seem a little clunky and confusing. I would still highly recommend Dunkirk, especially if you’re already interested in it. Christopher Nolan is a masterful director, and that really shines through in Dunkirk. This may not be his best film, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Nolan finally got some Oscar love for this one.
So what did you think of Dunkirk? Do you believe it’s the best film of the year so far? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter! It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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