Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, James D'Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan
Runtime: 107 min
Christopher Nolan is back! The director of Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy and Interstellar (his last big release as a director) tells the story of the evacuation of 400.000 soldiers from Dunkirk, France, who are surrounded by the Nazi forces.
Great Britain needs all the help it can get in order to win World War II, so the help might just be on its way ...
Some things are undeniable: the sky is blue, fire burns and Christopher Nolan is one of the best directors alive. His originality in the way he tells a story is always mind-blowing and very unconventional, which makes some critics' minds go against him simply because they just can't understand the brilliance of said director.
Once again, Nolan directs the hell out of this movie! Not only his storytelling is very different, it actually fits perfectly into the film's line of events. Once you get it, it literally makes you go "Oooooohhhhh, so that's what you wanted me to understand. Cool!". The fact that he used 6000 extras plus real boats and planes from that era elevates the movie's realism. The real locations make the whole film look stunning and the cinematography is pure perfection.
As for the story itself, I gotta emphasize on this: it's literally a WAR movie. From the very first shot, BUM! You're in it! This might be one of the best (if not THE best) pure war film in history: the dizzy air fights, the bombs constantly being dropped on the beach, the gunshots, everything feels and SOUNDS so real! Hans Zimmer's score proves that he's one of the best composers ever ...
For the first time in my life, I honestly felt sick and uncomfortable watching some scenes on IMAX. Normally, this would be a negative, but not on a war film like this: it delivers the message it wants in the most REAL way possible. If I didn't feel well, seated on a chair, watching a war going down on a screen, I can't even imagine what it's like to actually experience it.
The cast is great, especially Mark Rylance as Mr. Dawson who brings a needed level of emotion to the movie, Fionn Whitehead as Tommy who we follow throughout the major part of the runtime and also Harry Styles as Alex who surprised the hell out of me, the kid can actually act!
Like I said above, this is a very unconventional film which portrays the war in its most horrible and fierce state. There's almost no dialogue during the whole runtime, there's no chat around a fire where the soldiers talk about their pasts and families, there's never a moment to rest. That, for me, it's perfect because it depicts the war as it probably was! I can't imagine people having dances and chats on the beach while bombs are being dropped, so this aspect of the film, for me, it's as real as it can get.
However, this leads me to my only issue with this movie: its characters. Since there's no backstory to any of them, I can't really connect or get attached to a single character. I understand that that's exactly what Nolan wanted, but the truth is that I didn't feel scared for someone's imminent death or worried that someone might not make it to the rescue boats ... God, I needed to go to RottenTomatoes to check some of the characters' names because I couldn't remember them! They are nothing to me because I know nothing about them ...
Still, I can only see this as a minor issue for me because I can understand what Nolan was going for, I truly can. Dunkirk is about the EVENT and not the people in it.
The whole movie gives me that sense of danger and urgency with the thrilling air fights, with the soldiers' fear in their faces every time a plane goes by, as well as their hope every time they go away. The worry and sense of duty that the sailors show navigating into the war to save their fellow compatriots is emotional and captivating ... Every single one of these aspects elevates the film in such a way that I can't look at it and not see a perfect portrayal of WAR.
In conclusion, Nolan does it again. His unconventional storytelling and beautiful cinematography, as well as Hans Zimmer's score, turn Dunkirk into one of the best war movies of all time! From the dizzy air fights to the bombs being dropped, everything feels incredibly real and scary, which makes this film probably the best portrayal of a war in its most fierce state. The cast is great, the characters not so much, but the story is about the event that happened and not about the people in it. So, go and (try to) enjoy a war through a screen without throwing up or leaving your seat: after all, you are safe ... They were not.