Signed up the 29/03/2017
Dunkirk is War film written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy with James D’Arcy and Kenneth Branagh.
The king is back in top form after losing his touch with his last two offerings (I said what I said Nolan fanboys), here Nolan gives us a film that’s so technically beautiful it would be a major crime not give him all the accolades (shared with Blade Runner 2049 of course). Nolan along with Hans Zimmer and Hoyte van Hoytema came out guns blazing to provide audiences with a film that’s directing perfection, scoring mastery and a cinematography masterclass.
Dunkirk sees Nolan return to his style of mixing mainstream and art house cinema to create a blockbuster spectacular that’s full of suspense and emotion. The film from the get go enters the chaotic field of battle and as the war rages, the film takes us into the warzone and we the audience witness the horrors of the war through beautiful imagery and epic sounds.
Sounds that weren’t disturbed by dialogue not that there wasn’t any but it’s very minimal and it works brilliantly because Nolan’s cast of the white boys club pulls through with their performances and they’re fine actors might I add (yes even that one directioner), these guys literally act with emotion, and you’d expect them to play it like in the theater with roaring emotion but here it’s the subtlety that works in their favour and they represent very well (Fionn is one to watch).
Nolan finds a way to heighten our sense of sound and that alone feeds us the emotions those soldiers were feeling on the beach, in the air and on the seas. The pictures shows us that each and every soldier wants to survive, The French Soldier’s survival game stood out for me (even though the film sorta downplays the French involvement during the actual event but that’s forgiven because the focus is the British). The film I eventual found was not about the actual war but about the soldiers at Dunkirk and their “instincts” to survive. These men were trying to survive something bigger than them, they were basically within the apocalypse in their eyes.
Though it wouldn’t really be a Nolan film for me if there wasn’t any form of tragedy and thank god it’s a Nolan film (lol), the tragedy in the film is so well placed that not only does it show us the effects of war but it also shows us how fear can turn the heroes into cowards and the cowards into murderers.
The use of the picture here is so amazing, it had moments where the intensity mixed with the somewhat hellish score evoked this sense of claustrophobia, I just had to get out and escape and I’m sure that’s what these soldiers were experiencing.
Let’s talk about how Nolan uses time in the film, not only does he use it for the story (showing us the events of Dunkirk in three different time periods – being a week, a day and an hour), this technique helps him intercut the film between these times in such a smooth way that they finally converge to a very exciting climax that’s loads of “fun”. He also uses it in his sound, the ticking clock usually served as warning for incoming danger or a moment that’s about to get your blood pumping. I’m super happy about this nonlinear approach to the storytelling of the film.
The “Home” sequence and the sequence where Hardy’s character lands the plane are perfect examples of how your sound can guide your action which in turn guides your audience and their emotions. These sequences help Nolan and team deliver an authentic experience and kinda made me appreciate Nolan, Hans and Hoyte more.
Brave soldiers, fearless airmen, heroic civilians and tragedies of war make for great viewing, as this film is defs top Nolan and masterpiece that I would recommend to anyone.
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