Screenshot from Warner Bros. Pictures’ YouTube Video
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
When Christopher Nolan first came to prominence back in 1998 with the movie “Following,” many assumed that he will become one of the greatest movie directors of all time. However, with his Batman trilogy he truly took it to the next level and from that moment on, each and every single one of his movies were always highly anticipated and respected throughout the community. The same goes for his latest title – Dunkirk. Dunkirk is Nolan’s first war movie but also his first movie to be based on real events. “Battle of Dunkirk” is one of the most notorious battles in World War II, where more than 300.000 soldiers were evacuated in the beaches of Dunkirk.
The movie’s plot follows three stories which are related in the rescuing mission. We learn of a young private Tommy, who fights for survival on the Mole, Mr. Dawson who embarks on a mission on the sea to travel to Dunkirk via la manche and Farrier, who is a spitfire pilot set to defeat the air-raid in the mole. The stories are told separately, but ultimately have the same goal.
Dunkirk is definitely a very ambitious project by Cristopher Nolan and is unique in so many different terms. The original script for the movie is only 70 pages long, as there is barely any dialogue involved. The main actor, a film debut for young Fion Whitehead was silent for nearly 40 minutes of the movie. Besides Whitehead, the cast includes Nolan’s frequent collaborator Tom Hardy, Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh.
While war movies usually focus on one main character and try to tell his side of the story, his fears, motivation and survival skills, Dunkirk is presenting the event itself and wants you to relieve the horrifying scenarios of the Dunkirk evacuation. Nolan was always a fan of show-don’t tell directing philosophy, but he never took it this far. Whitehead’s character represents all 300.000 soldiers on that beach – an unknown figure who happened to be there and is just one more soldier seeking evacuation. That is why it is really hard to have empathy to the characters in the movie, since you don’t really bond with them in the first place.
Facial expression by all actors, including Hardy and Rylance (great performance by both actors) are filling up the script and doing the dialogue. Hardy’s role of a spitfire pilot is somehow weird, since we hardly even seen him in the movie and he wears a pilot mask all along (you will get the feeling that you are hearing Bane talking to his fellow pilots).
What brought this movie to absolute perfection is its graphical and audio achievements. Dunkirk was shot with 70mm and 35mm film with IMAX, which is the reason why we have truly amazing scenes and amazing shots throughout. Besides the visual design, the original score was composed by legendary Hans Zimmer. Let’s just say that he should be credited as a director for this movie, since his music is highly contributing to the tension and thrill of the movie. Easily one of the greatest soundtracks lately.
Dunkirk can easily serve as a documentary and it puts you on the beaches of Dunkirk nearly 77 years ago. With Hans Zimmer’s score and Nolan’s mind, we are yet to witness a bad movie and this one is easily one of Nolan’s finest work.