“Dunkirk” Review

22 July, 2017

Director: Christopher Nolan
Screenwriter: Christopher Nolan
Director of Photography: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Cast: 
Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles

Synopsis: Stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk during the height of WWII, thousands of Allied soldiers hunt for safety while civilians band together in an effort to prevent the forces from being massacred by the German army.

Dunkirk Review:

A staunchly visceral experience from a director whose auteuristic backbone has reshaped the face of the mainstream blockbuster, “Dunkirk” preserves the consistency of Christopher Nolan’s finest work, holding large-scale action to a high standard with a compositional ballet envisioned through the unadulterated ambitions of a determined visionary. Dedicated to his work and fascinated by non-linear structures and choreographed suspense, Nolan is the neurosurgeon of the filmmaking world, hitting the gut with impossible life or death sequences and blasting bombs and torpedoes into the heart of dread with an unremitting sense of trepidation.

Reworking the iconic stomach-drops seen in his flawless catalogue of movies, Nolan learns from bank robberies, folding cityscapes, and giant tsunamis, modifying the gulp of “Interstellar”‘s ‘They’re not mountains, they’re waves’ sequence in two merciless acts of wartime bedlam. Momentarily patriotic in a tonal shift that sweeps the final act away from the weight of its opening sequences, “Dunkirk” finds purpose in Kenneth Branagh’s open-mouthed reaction shots but its final message of unity is worlds apart from the realities of a merciless context which allows a case of mistaken identity to lambaste the scuffles of a fearful group of fighters while the story’s biggest hero simply waits to be dragged away by the enemy.

Forging on-screen brothers out of blonde and black-haired allies, but also fleeting enemies during the intense struggle for survival, “Dunkirk” casts similar-looking actors in interchangeable roles, presenting soldiers as limping cannon fodder who become practically faceless in the line of duty. Studying and toying with the oddities of war, Nolan fascinates over the hysteria behind the promise of certain death and his intelligence produces a scepticism for male gallantry that is undercut solely by the heroism of his closing chapter. While streams of men crumple with their hands above their heads, “Dunkirk” crafts heroes out of scarce individuals whose experience goes entirely unmatched by those thrown into the belly of the beast.

 

   

Summary
Review Date
Movie
Dunkirk
Rating
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