‘Dunkirk’ is easily one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. The simple reason for this is the man sitting in the director’s chair. Christopher Nolan is without a doubt one of the leading directors working today. The proof for this lies in his previous filmography which includes; ‘Memento’, ‘The Dark Knight’ & ‘Inception’ to name a few. ‘Dunkirk’ is his tenth feature length film and is the first occasion that Nolan has tackled a true story.
We’ve already had one film about Dunkirk this year in the shape of the wonderful ‘Their Finest’. Whilst that film was more indirectly about the actual event Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ gets right to the epicentre of the action. These action sequences are incredibly impressive to watch. Whether they take place on the beaches, in the sea or the skies above, every detail of them looks spectacular. It was the scenes of the Spitfire’s soaring through the skies that really amazed me though, I’m struggling to think of a film that has achieved similar sequences to a higher quality, the work here really is stunning. The sound of the roaring engines, propellers and thunderous machine guns all cut deep and transport you as a viewer right into the midst of warfare. Long time contributor Hans Zimmer reunites with Nolan to provide the score for the film. As you can imagine the results are superb with a very creative & unique sound. My only complaint regarding the audio is that at times the score was too loud and it became slightly overbearing. Only due to the fact that this made the dialogue very hard to make out. I wasn’t sure if this was a deliberate decision to emulate the sounds of war but it did make the film harder to engage with in certain moments.
The movie has a large ensemble cast starring the likes of Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance & Kenneth Branagh. It also has a large collection of newcomers including One Direction star Harry Styles. There really is no lead actor here and I’d say that most of the actors have similar sized roles. All of them perform very well and the ensemble style nature of the film goes a long way in paying tribute to the collaborative effort of all involved in the real life evacuation. The narrative is told through three non-linear storylines. At times this was a little confusing as characters would seemingly go back on themselves but once you got a grasp of the story-telling technique it was easy enough to follow, don’t worry this is no ‘Inception’. The technique was actually very well worked and combined with a shorter running time for a Nolan film it was effective in many ways. One of which is the emotion that particular moments carry. This is especially impressive due to the lack of attention given to really focused character development. These more sentimental moments really creep on you but they feel so genuine and deserved opposed to being forced or manipulative.
‘Dunkirk’ is unquestionably top tier Nolan. It shows that this director is open to new challenges and that the quality of his work is going nowhere but up. Nolan’s filmography aside though and ‘Dunkirk’ is still an astounding war film and certainly one of the highlights of the cinematic year so far. It combines action, emotion & story-telling in a masterful way that should be irresistible to any fan of film.
Rating – 9/10
Question: What are your top three Christopher Nolan films?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.