‘Dunkirk’ Review 

Style for miles. – That’s the best Harry Styles pun I could think of.

(WARNER BROS.)

 

Over time, I believe that Dunkirk will be remembered more for what’s missing, rather than what we witness on screen. It’s tense, it’s loud, and it makes you feel like you are standing on that beach with 400,000 other soldiers. I felt like I was part of the war, and Christopher Nolan really encompasses what I imagine it would literally be like to be stranded on that beach, waiting for a way home. It’s visually beautiful, in terms of filmmaking, its damn near perfect. With all that being said, I walked away from Dunkirk a little confused. For the first time in a very long time, I couldn’t remember any characters, not a single name. That’s not because there aren’t any characters, there is ZERO characterization within Dunkirk, and I’m not sure if that was done on purpose or not. It’s a war movie, so you usually find yourself rooting for certain characters or certainly getting attached to a few, but it was difficult to do so within the realm of Dunkirk. It just felt weird that even our greatest heroes within the movie, don’t receive any kind of backstory or personality that really bummed me out. That is Dunkirk’s biggest problem, there’s just a serious lack of substance to it, but that doesn’t take away from the actual movie. It’s just kind of something you have to deal with, and either you’re going to hate that aspect of Dunkirk, or you won’t mind at all.

The opening is so hauntingly beautiful, for me it was the best part of the movie, and it was a mere two minutes long. I won’t go into it, because I want this to be a spoiler free review, but it was really the only moment of the entire movie, that felt stress free. Any real moment where you weren’t worried about these poor helpless men. It’s a peaceful moment, right before we get 106 minutes of sheer action, suspense, chaos and death. Christopher Nolan once again delivers, I’ll say this isn’t his best movie overall, but the man really knows how to make a movie! He’s been on such an incredible streak, that it’s hard not to justify that he is the best filmmaker working today. I expect a best director nomination at next years Oscars, and he’s probably the front-runner right now to win the award. This movie screams Oscars. I’m going to say best supporting actor, best director, best picture, sound editing, sound mixing, best cinematography, and best costumes are pretty much all locks for Oscar noms. I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing if I’m right or not. That’s the thing about Dunkirk; it’s just so well made, but has other serious flaws, that for me weigh it down.

The cast is unique, because well the lead of the movie (Fionn Whitehead) might have 10 lines of dialogue throughout the whole movie. Which suited his character, but again it was tough to get behind a guy, who doesn’t speak and we know little to nothing about him. Tom Hardy plays a badass jet fighter, and in classic Nolan form, covers up his entire face. Also what’s with Tom Hardy and not being able to understand ONE word he says? I swear he puts peanut butter inside his mouth before he speaks. So that was frustrating, but he does pull a serious Kramer on his jet’s gas tank, that thing just kept going! Mark Rylance will get the supporting actor nod, I just couldn’t see this movie without him, and they needed his character, as he added the much-needed humanity and hope aspect. I’m shocked guys, Harry Styles is a good actor people. Like he works really well in this. Nolan making him a pretty boy d-bag is a masterstroke of genius. He’s part of some of the best scenes in the movie and is involved in arguably the tensest moment of the film.

With a run time of only 106 minutes, this is go go go from the start. You really don’t have a chance to breathe, after the opening few minutes. I found that ironic, in the sense that about every 10 minutes we find soldiers fighting for their lives in water trying not to drown themselves. For myself, watching people drown in movies is insanely stressful and there’s a ton of it in Dunkirk. There’s music going on throughout the film, which adds to the suspense, and builds on tense moments, the use of sound is extraordinary. When planes are flying over the heads of shoulders, it’s so loud and so effective, you almost have the urge to look up yourself. That’s how you make a movie, that’s how you get the most out of the audience experience.

One thing I wanted more of was some historical context. I wanted to know more about why the British and the French were in this situation.  They really didn’t dive deep on that, and maybe they were expecting everyone to already know the backstory, but I think it could have been really effective if they were to touch on it a bit more throughout the movie. This was a really huge event in human history; I felt they should have maybe touched on that just a little bit more. This was about 400,000 men trapped on a bench, with nowhere to go, planes flying overhead dropping bombs. They were helpless, they were hopeless, and you felt that, but for me, it just needed a little more gravity to it.

A spectacle is the best way to describe Dunkirk, you have to see it in IMAX, and it’s something that everyone should see. It’s why movies are made, and it’s the definition of movie making. It also can be described as an art house war movie because it’s just so different from anything that has come before it. It’s extremely powerful, and you feel the pressure, you feel the tension. I felt for every single man on that beach and you understand and realize pretty quickly just how bad they wanted off. I just wonder if our main hero ever got the chance to take his number two.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Dunkirk = 90/100