Dunkirk is the latest masterpiece by my favorite director Christopher Nolan. I’m so excited to finally write a review about it. It tells the story of the fallout from the disastrous 1940 battle of Dunkirk during World War 2 as the Nazis took control of France. It features an ensemble cast including Tom Hardy, Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, and many others including a surprising performance by singer Harry Styles.
The plot follows three storylines. The Mole, a seawall where the men from the beach are trying to jump onto rescue ships from the French town of Dunkirk. The Air where three Spitfires from the Royal Air Force are fighting the Nazi planes trying to bomb the Royal Navy vessels. Finally, The Sea where a boy, his father, and their teenage friend sets out on the civilian boat Moonstone to save the men who are only six hours away from the English Channel. The timelines are told in separate order, but eventually converge for the climax of the war film. Yes, it takes some liberties, but what war epic doesn’t?
Unlike other films like The Longest Day or Saving Private Ryan, which connects you to the characters by telling (or at least hinting) their back stories or giving you some composition about who they are. Nolan chose not to do that for Dunkirk. Instead, we are thrust into the fallout of the battle. We watch as the officers on the beach try to keep the scared and desperate troops who can see England when the skies are clear. We watch the pilots as they try to scare the Nazi planes away as fuel drops. Each scene has its own perspective and you feel the conditions of the people involved. We watch as the brave civilians courageously travel the English channel to save their boys in enemy territory.
With this lack of emotional connection, I felt like a disembodied observer and it became frustrating as I watch these men try to survive as the enemy moved in around them. This caused angst among critics and even some of my friends. However, as I watched, I realized that was the point. I didn’t care about just one of the men, I cared for all of them. The officers, the beached soldiers, the pilots, and the sailors, I wanted to see them rescued and safe at home. It brought the movie together in a unique way that made the film not only enjoyable, but memorable.
It is truly a new type of war movie. The director chooses to shoot it like a suspense drama. The enemy was rarely seen, but their presence was felt. The soldier’s relationship seemed muted, yet somehow intimate as worked together for survival. The scenery has incredible depth, the acting monumental, the music compliments every scene, and the way it draws you in is incredible.
Nolan is truly a master of his craft. Dunkirk shows heart, emotion, fear, but most of all courage. It is not the typical Oscar-bait World War 2 film. It is unique, powerful, and definitely pays tribute to the men the film honors.
FAVORITE QUOTE: He may never be himself again.
PARENTAL VIOLENCE: Brief Strong Language, War Violence
Check out the movie trailer below:
That is my review. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there’s a movie you’d like me to review. Check out my review of Wind River. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.