DUNKIRK (2017)

Genre: War/Action/Thriller
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, James D'Arcy, Jack Lowden
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language)
Released By:  Warner Bros 
Official Website: http://www.dunkirkmovie.com

Opening Day: 20 July 2017

Synopsis: “Dunkirk” opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.

Movie Review:

So it was a strategy all along.

You were wondering why Christopher Nolan took on something as mainstream as comic book superheroes with The Dark Knight Trilogy. After making his mark with 2000’s Memento which earned Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing, the English American filmmaker began working with Warner Bros studio on blockbusters starring big names.

Some notable celebrities who have worked with Nolan include Christian Bale (is he the best Batman ever?), Al Pacino (2002’s Insomnia), Hugh Jackman (2006’s The Prestige), Leonardo DiCaprio (2010’s Inception) and Matthew McConaughey (2014’s Interstellar). These huge titles are critically and commercially successful, making the 46 year old one of the highest grossing directors in history.

With the massive box office earnings, Nolan managed to get the movie studio to back up his latest project.

When we heard that Nolan was going to direct a film about the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation set during World War II, we were wondering how a war movie could incorporate the unique characteristics the acclaimed filmmaker was known for: construction of time, human morality and memory. Our doubts were unfounded – the historical film is ambitious, epic and will go down history as one of the greatest war movies ever made.

Split into three parts, the film is presented in a non linear manner. With events taking place on land, sea and in the air, the story is essentially about the evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirkbefore Nazi forces could take hold.  

The film’s opening scene is poignant: you see soldiers walking down a deserted street with papers swirling in the air. You see them wondering around aimlessly, and the uncomfortable silence is suddenly broken by gun shots. Only one soldier survives, and he finds his way to a beach where thousands of other men are waiting to be evacuated.

If you aren’t familiar with this part of history, it is also known as Operation Dynamo where plans were made to evacuate the large numbers of British, French, Belgian, and Canadian troops who were cut off and surrounded by the German army during the Battle of France.

The story begins and you see how men survive the war. Without giving away too much plot details, let’s just say viewers will be in for a sensory experience with powerful visuals, genius sound editing and a story structure that makes this production stand out. Spectacular scenes are recreated (with a huge production budget, of course), and there are lots to see on screen. Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography is breathtaking, and Hans Zimmer’s musical score will blow you away. Watching this on in an IMAX theatre is highly recommended.

You aren’t distracted by pretty faces. Little known actors Fionn Whitehead, Jack Lowden and an almost unrecognisable Harry Styles (One Direction fans rejoice!) take on the more substantial roles. Nolan’s usual collaborators Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy play supporting characters. Established veterans Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance also deliver impressively muted performances.

There may be countless sweeping moments in this 107 minute film (Nolan’s shortest yet), but it is also an intimate portrayal of humanity during dire times. Now, will someone recognise Nolan with at least an Academy Award nomination for Best Director already?  

Movie Rating:

(Experience and get fully immersed in the horror and hope of war through Nolan's unapologetically epic war movie)

Review by John Li


You might also like: