Christopher Nolan’s latest epic hits our screens, delighting audiences and critics alike, so I went to see what all the fuss was about.
Set during the early part of World War Two, German soldiers have British and French troops surrounded on Dunkirk beach. An epic rescue mission is launched The narrative is broken into 3 sections: The beach, in which soldiers are trying to evacuate back to England. The sky, where we see a group of fighter pilots attempt to stop German planes from killing the evacuating soldiers and finally, the British civilians travelling on boats to rescue the soldiers.
As with any movie that has Christopher Nolan’s name attached to it, there were big expectations for Dunkirk and a lot of that expectation was met. Nolan reverts back to the similar style he used in Memento back in 2000 cleverly using of time and weaving into the story at certain parts. The audience is thrown among the three timelines, all self contained with there own smaller stories and action set pieces. The film does offer glimpses at the larger story line, at the cost of you viewer remembering just where you are in each story strand.
The action sequences (of which they are many) are nothing short of breathtaking, Nolan really knows how to put the audience right in the middle of it, whether its claustrophobic boat sequences, the thrill of aerial dog fighting or just some good boots on the ground drama, you really feel all of it. This is enhanced by the brilliant score from Hans Zimmer. The music always perfectly matched the situation, pulse pounding, harmonic, intense, you felt it throughout and almost makes you forget about the lack of dialogue between the characters.
The downside of all of that is that it all seems a bit too much and the style over substance, and give the subject matter, I feel that it did really do it. I ended up feeling lost and not really caring about any of the characters, I didn’t know who they were and could never really form a connection with them. Tom Hardy appeared to be the stand out performance and Harry Styles seemed to do well on his first venture into film but he had very little to say (he had a lot of lines compared to the rest of the cast). I praise Nolan for bringing this story to life but I just left the cinema screening feeling like the hype and buzz surrounding the film had been over-blown and expectations for the film were set a bit too high.
Obviously Nolan has used this type of story telling for a reason and in some respects it does work but I can say with certainty that if it were any other lesser known director doing this film then it probably wouldn’t have got the buzz or critical reception that it has received. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the film I just feel there was more to tell and I would urge anyone to go and see it, Dunkirk has a run time of 106 minutes it’s well worth any ones time to get on board and check it out. It’s a compact Nolan epic with lashings if creativity and beautiful cinematography.
In conclusion, Dunkirk is a visual masterpiece that lacks depth. Nolan proves once again he is an incredible film maker and with Dunkirk he mixes a visually impressive piece of cinema with an amazing score, but sadly the subject matter can sometimes feel a little lost.
Not really sure if my opinion is an unpopular one so it would be great to hear your thoughts. So I encourage you all to go get involved and see it for yourself.