Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Dunkirk

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  That Nolan guy can really make some flicks, eh?



Dunkirk – 5 out of 5

Christopher Nolan is a pretty dynamite filmmaker.  The guy can not only tell a great story but he can do it with visual flare and fantastic drama.  For the most part, I feel like the guy can do no wrong with his features (there is one I particularly didn’t enjoy) and had absolutely no reservations when I sat down to watch Dunkirk.  From the moment I first saw the trailer, I was definitely interested to see this director take on a historical war drama.  I sadly didn’t get a chance to check it out in the theater and kinda forgot about it for a bit but recently I sat down and finally watched it and found it to be a masterpiece.

The paper falling from the sky is the 1940s equivalent of the comment section.
Just a bunch a scraps that read "First" and talk about how they are a "Top Fan."

During WWII in 1940, Allied soldiers found themselves trapped in Dunkirk, France.  British soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) finds himself with thousands of troop on the beach awaiting evacuation but bombing raids from German planes complicate matters.  One run sinks a hospital vessel and he ends up rescuing another soldier named Alex (Harry Styles) but as time goes forward their situation grows worse.  Meanwhile, the Royal Navy brings in civilian ships to sail out and rescue as many men as they can.  Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance), his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Garney) and his son’s friend George (Barry Keoghan) set sail and come across a shell-shocked soldier on a wrecked ship (Cillian Murphy).  The soldier’s fear of returning to Dunkirk quickly leads to mayhem and tragedy on the civilian vessel.  Finally, as the evacuation occurs on the land and in the sea, pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) does his best to keep the German bombers from getting through and giving the soldiers a chance at survival…

Christopher Nolan really likes working with Cillian Murphy.

I know throwing around the M-word is a pretty big deal and calling a feature a “masterpiece” can either be a reflection of how hyperbolic we are as a society, sarcasm, or completely honest—and I’m being completely honest.  I was just floored by how Dunkirk was crafted and showcased.  I haven’t been so moved from a war film since I first saw Saving Private Ryan.  So, what about this Nolan feature made it so impactful and such a piece of artistry to behold?

This man's name is Fionn Whitehead.  Can we talk about what an awesome
name that is?

First off, the cast is fantastic and the score is tremendous.  Both these elements end up working in concert as the feature is very light on dialogue and heavy on using the score to help create the tension and emotion.  The cast, with as little lines as they have, are required to fall back on a lot of non-verbal acting to get their message across and this feature has some absolutely amazing non-verbal acting.  This is seen the best with the characters of Tommy and Alex.  Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles were able to express so much to each other with nothing but a glance and it carries so much weight for the film.

I could be a grown man with the mind of a child and whine that a teen heartthrob
singer was in my war movie but Styles was sure great in the film.

Next up is the visuals.  Nolan has quite the eye for his films and is capable of painting sequences in attention-grabbing ways and in forms that compliments the action and story.  Dunkirk is no exception.  From the moment Tommy walks on the beach and you see the thousands of troop hoping and waiting for rescue to the sequences of Farrier dogfighting in the sky, there are so many moments that are breathtaking to see and extremely emotional to endure.  Like the use of nonverbal acting and using the score to heavily set mood, the visuals all strike chords and can create an immediate and visceral reaction to the events that are playing out.

It's an odd mixture that a film about war can have such amazing and
breathtaking visuals.  War shouldn't be stunning.

Finally, Dunkirk is just a cool story.  War is hell and tons of movies will show and tell you to that effect and it isn’t easy to craft a war movie that doesn’t, even on a very superficial level, feel like a dozen others you’ve seen.  The tale of what happened at Dunkirk is already astounding enough on its own and I think Nolan really captured its importance and the spirit of the entire historical event.  Rarely do you see films about war that isn’t about winning the battle or about ultimate triumph and to see the story of Dunkirk, a tale all about the most basic of victories; survival, is just as inspirational and emotionally powerful as seeing the hero deck the bad guy across the jaw and win the day.

I'm a giant coward and I'm accident prone.  I would have somehow sunk
my ship as I was fleeing the called upon duty.

Like any historical drama or features about real-life events, there are going to be some liberties.  I don’t fault filmmakers for occasionally fudging the facts in the name of storytelling and emotional impact.  Sometimes it can be a bummer (like with Bohemian Rhapsody) and sometimes it actually helps the tale.  I never have a standard that requires these things to be 100 percent historically and factually accurate.  Dunkirk has some inaccuracies to it—some of which involve military protocol that an everyday citizen like myself would have no clue about—but nothing about it jumped out and immediately cried “FAKE!”.  Any noticeable moments were ones that never interrupted my entertaining or destroyed my suspension of disbelief.

Even behind a mask, Tom Hardy is more attractive than I'll ever be...
and that includes the Bane mask.

Dunkirk might be one of the best features I’ve seen from a director/writer who is known for making killer films.  Everything about the production is top shelf stuff and its tale leaves an impact long after the credits have rolled.  From start to finish, the film is just an astonishing and damn impressive piece of work that didn’t falter in the slightest for me.

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