Is Christopher Nolan’s latest film a wonderful war-time hit or a disastrous Dunkirk retelling?
The controversial Dunkirk evacuation during the Second World War is adapted in this modern movie, following three separate stories, all playing their part in the Dunkirk evacuation.
I think if this film was done by anyone other than Nolan, it wouldn’t be half as good as it is. His mastery of plot really shines in this film and it is the perfect example of a film that has no lead, no protagonist, no ‘hero’s journey’ plot, but is about the event rather than the people. The beginning of the film drops you straight into the action — there’s no unnecessary back-stories to make you feel sorry for the characters; they’re all just soldiers, no wives waiting back home, or children to father, and I suppose this mirrors the thoughts regarding the soldiers at the time. This film could’ve been executed in a very different way, a bit like ‘Titanic’, I suppose, where the actual event plays second-fiddle to the lengthy back-story of two fictional characters. No, this film is all about the evacuation, about the emotions, and about how everyone — however different — can help each other.
I enjoyed everything in this film, but if pressed for a favourite part I’d have to go for the aerial dogfights. I could watch a full two-and-a-half hour film just of that, the beautiful cinematic shots (no doubt inspired by those Nolan achieved in the sci-fi epic ‘Interstellar‘) and excellent performances from Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden as spitfire pilots just add to the whole tension, emotion and action.
Speaking of tension, ‘Dunkirk’ is full of it — and it just becomes more, and more, and more. There’s no relaxing, there’s no relief, this film is constantly building up, and building up, right until the end as there is no real climax to this film — it’s all just one climbing mass of tension and drama.
This film is so brilliantly accurate as well — there’s no glossing over the harsh brutality that no doubt went on during those fateful days, and not everyone gets a happy ending in the film. There’s also smaller details like the use of the real Dunkirk little boats, and Nolan’s almost pathological use of practical effects — real planes, real boats, real beaches, real explosions, it just makes it work so well and adds to all the realism.
If you haven’t got the idea already, I really enjoyed ‘Dunkirk’. All the performances were brilliant and the plot was absolutely excellent. I really can’t fault ‘Dunkirk’ and it’s another brilliant film from Nolan — a definite ten-out-of-ten.
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