Dunkirk, the latest by director Christopher Nolan, tells the story of the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk, but approaches it from a different way of telling a war story.
With an all-star cast including Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy, Dunkirk showcases the battle from land, sea, and air.
The film is more action-driven than character-driven, and it is brutal and bleak. The cinematography is amazing, and the visuals really bring you into the war.
Nolan has created a unique vision of a war film, but since you don’t get to know the characters very well, it’s hard to get invested in the movie.
See this if you like war films and visually-stunning masterpieces. But don’t expect much of a feel-good resolution. Dunkirk, like the battle it tells, is unsettling and raw.
Scroll down for my slightly spoiler filled review…
The Dunkirk battle was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between May 26 and June 4, 1940.
The operation commenced after large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by German troops around the mid-point of the six-week long Battle of France.
In telling this historic event on film, Christopher Nolan eschews the normal character-building and story evolution for immersing the audience in the middle of the battle and letting it rage around them.
The story is told from three perspectives—land, sea, and air.. Nolan has chosen to structure the film from the point of view of the characters, using visuals rather than dialogue and backstory.
The result in a visual masterpiece of war films. The film is pretty-much non-stop action and intense life-or-death situations.
You don’t really get to know any of the characters, which only leads to the chaos of the story. And many of the characters don’t make it, but you don’t really feel a personal connection to them. Yet the constant loss adds to the impact of the horrors of war.
The film ends with a few of the survivors returning to England, unsure if they would receive a hero’s welcome…and unsure they deserve it if there is.
Don’t watch Dunkirk expecting happy endings, and a tidy resolution of the story. Like the story it tells, the film is brutal to watch. However, it’s an amazing piece of storytelling, and a unique way to present a war film.
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Rating: 8 out of 10 stars
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
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