Dunkirk is epic. There is just simply no denying that. And of course, Nolan is god. So I really have no business writing a review on his movie. But when you have good things to say, you should.
Short Review (No Spoilers)
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
- Christoper Nolan.
- Screenplay and cinematography – This is a extremely visual depiction of war. Nolan takes you through the screen to the battlefield and makes you feel every tense second the soldiers go through.
- Music – Hans Zimmer.
- Tom hardy – The man sits in a plane with a helmet and mask on for 95% of the film, and still gets you rooting for him.
- There are hardly any dialogues – So this movie is probably not for everyone.
- You need to watch it on IMAX. Nolan has created a work of art, which can only be truly appreciated in IMAX.
- This is not an usual war movie – As with all his movies, Nolan has taken the genre and split it to pieces. There is no glory in war here, No great conquest, No blinding victories and celebrations. It is a story of survival, and sometimes that is enough.
- You won’t be able to remember the name of your favourite character.
Christopher Nolan just cannot be happy making a good movie the way most other directors do. He had to screw with our minds in Inception, create new worlds in Interstellar, confound us in Memento, amaze us in prestige and question the very nature of human beings in the dark knight rises.
In Dunkirk, he makes us live the war. And you cannot step out unaffected.
The Allied forces are surrounded by the Axis with one last front put up at Dunkirk. The movie begins with Tommy who is outside the perimeter rushing into the perimeter to find long lines of soldiers waiting to get on a boat back home. We follow Tommy as he tries multiple tricks and routes to get back home. Whether he does and whether the remaining 400,000 men in Dunkirk make it back is the crux of the story. There are three parallel but misaligned on timelines in the story leading up to and converging at the climax – The Dunkirk beach, the English coast and the air.
This movie is not about brave soldiers, great battles or innovative strategies. It is about the stark reality of surviving a war, and Nolan makes you live through the difficulties of it. There are no emotional backstories, there are no cliff-hanger endings, and there are no tricks in the screenplay that will confuse you as to what is going on.
War is going on and people are dying. You don’t know their names, their stories, their achievements. You only feel their pain as they try to get back home. And that is what this movie is about, the pain and suffering in war.
There is one poignant scene where a french soldier drowns in a flooding boat. You do not know his name. You even wonder if he killed a British soldier in the first few scenes. But you feel the pain.
You see Cillian Murphy push a civilian kid to his death in his delirium and yet you do not antagonize him. You understand this is what war does to people, just like the boy in the movie does.
And that is the mastery that Nolan has over his art. He does not have to say it through his characters, he does not have to establish it through his backstory, he shows us nothing more than what is happening right now and within that space he conveys everything he wants to. In memento, prestige and Inception, he fooled us into not seeing what was on the screen. In Dunkirk he does the opposite.
Once again, Hans zimmer shines by doing what he does best. Raise the bar on the entire experience of the movie. It flows perfectly with every scene, not once taking you away from the story, not once letting it dull the emotions.
And as an added bonus. You get the non-linear Nolan movie.
Story – 10 / 10
Screenplay, Direction – 9 / 10
Music – 10 / 10
Acting – 9 / 10
Overall – 9.5 / 10