Dunkirk is a visceral, intense experience form beginning to end. There is no other way of describing it. From the opening shot of the film Christopher Nolan pulls you in to the madness and intensity of World War 2, with every gunshot, bomb drop, and Supermarine being both felt and heard throughout the film.
This is no ordinary war film either. The Germans aren’t shown on screen, and they are simply known as the enemy, even being called that in the opening titles; simply the enemy. You don’t hear the characters names, backstories, motivations- you are there to watch British and French Soldiers attempt to survive the war. With a PG-13 rating, you are lead to believe the violence and intensity would not be on the same level as something like Saving Private Ryan, but you would be wrong. This film is very real. This film is very intense. Every second of it you feel the enemy getting closer to the hundreds of thousand of Soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk. They need to get out, and the story of the miraculous escape is told in three different variations; The Land, The Air, and The Sea. Each story arc has it’s own emotional conclusion, and each leaves you more emotionally drained than the other.
Although told in a somewhat nonlinear narrative (which could complicate things for some viewers, myself included) Christopher Nolan nonetheless still manages to tell an amazing story of survival, with great performances from Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Barry Keoghan, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead, Jack Lowden, and Kenneth Branagh. Although their names are hardly ever said or dialogue is barely ever seen in the film, their reactions to certain situations and just the pure chaos and struggles each character goes through is enough to make you feel a connection to them. Each scene and interaction that the characters have in the film has real emotional weight and stakes to it, and makes the film all the more intense.
The tense and relentless action that happens in this film is brought to life so expertly thanks to the dream team that is cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema and Composer Hans Zimmer, and Supervising Sound Editor Richard King. Hoytema is able to provide stunning and breathtaking images thanks to the scope and scale provided by IMAX cameras, immersing you in what is happening on the screen. Hoytema’s imagery and attention to detail in each shot is beautiful and astounding to watch, especially in certain scenes and towards the end. This is truly the most beautiful film I have had the pleasure of seeing in 2017; not since 2015’s Spectre has Hoytema managed to convert such seamless and beautiful images on the big screen. Hans Zimmer is also another story altogether.
Much like his previous work on Christopher Nolan’s films, Zimmer manages to bring emotion and intensity into the music he creates, each track with a purpose in the film, and putting even more into what already is an amazing sensory experience of sight and sound. Each beat, every tempo feels like it has meaning in it, all to further drive the story that Christopher Nolan is telling with it’s ominous and taut music. Richard King and his sound editing deserve more than an Oscar Nomination for this one, as every gunshot, explosion and wave on the beach sounds more real than anything else I have heard on screen, thanks to the stunning IMAX sounds and visuals. Take this seriously when I say, This Demands to be seen in IMAX.
Towards the end of the film, Winston Churchill’s speech is read. “Fighting them on the beaches… Never surrendering…” with the backdrop of some of the most emotional imagery I have seen in a Christopher Nolan film. It was when the credits started rolling, and the audience began clapping, I had realized what I had just experienced. Despite some narrative confusion, Dunkirk still managed to tell A story of survival, a story of hope in what seemed to be some of the darkest times, a story of unity, even in the face of betrayal and war. Dunkirk managed to do all that and more, and made it a truly moving experience like no other. – Ernesto Valenzuela
GRADE – 9.8/10 NEAR PERFECT
Dunkirk Is Now Playing in Theaters Everywhere
Dunkirk -“Dunkirk” opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.