I will be honest, I had never heard of Dunkirk (the evacuation not the movie) before the trailers came out. I am far from a history buff, but I do enjoy a good true story especially based around military force overcoming extreme obstacles. If I knew the story and you told me it would become a movie, Christopher Nolan would have been nowhere near my guess for a potential director. After all, his movies tend to rely on cinematic tricks (such as the story being pieced together out of sync) or having some crazy plot (like a dream within a dream within a dream so con-men can steal information). Then if you told me the movie would not rely on dialogue and be super suspenseful, I would have told you to leave and that I could no longer trust your news again. All of that said … Dunkirk ladies and gentleman!
I give it 6 “Harry Styles might be able to have a career as an actor with almost no lines!” out of 10.
FOR THE UNITIATED
During World War II the invading German forces routed and surrounded the Allied forces to Dunkirk, France. It becomes an almost hopeless venture to save everyone due to continued bombings, attacks from the air, and U-boats. In a last ditch effort, the English government enlists civilian boats to rescue everyone they can.
The film doesn’t rely on any big name actors but stars Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Harry Styles.
The sound! Holy moly! I was lucky enough to see Dunkirk in a big theatre with great surround sound. While the cinematography is great, the sound mixing and editing was crazy good. The sound of the German dive bombers was terrifying. The sound of gunshots piercing through metal felt too close for comfort at times. It definitely did everything possible to put you in the shoes of an English soldier at that time.
I also was told the suspense was higher than most horror movies. That was a fair assessment since there were a lot of times the entire audience was on the edge of their seats and dead quiet. Similarly, the lack of dialogue goes completely unnoticed unless someone points it out. The film could have been in another language and I might not have noticed aside from one or two scenes.
My biggest nitpick might not exist upon a second viewing, but true to Nolan fashion the timeline is disjointed. At the very beginning there is some text that says “Mole – One Week” or “Sky – One Hour” and I didn’t think much of it since I attributed it to travel time. As I found out the times listed were how long ago that storyline started in comparison to the start of the film. There were a few times near the middle and end that it got slightly confusing until everything was somewhat clarified.
Dunkirk is more of an experience than a movie, similar to Gravity. The disjointed timeline affected my experience, but might not affect others. If I see it again, I know that my opinion on the movie as a whole will change. Definitely see it soon so you can experience the booming sounds of bombs or the high pitched screams of the dive bombers.
The recommendation that comes to mind is another non-horror movie that had some of the most suspenseful moments that come to mind: Sicario. It follows a DEA agent who goes off the grid with some shady government people to take down the head of a cartel. The border crossing scene is one of the more memorable scenes of the last few years.