Christopher Nolan - that name. The guy is a genious. For me to even critique him is wrong. I'm not a huge war movie kind of guy. But this film approached the subject matter very differently than I've seen in the past. Instead of blowing people up for endless scenes, we get more of three-pronged story of characters yearning for home. I loved that approach. This film is so beautifully shot it's crazy. The story itself is remarkable, but the limited dialogue is challenging if you're someone who needs words. Nolan obviously enjoys somewhat confusing his audiences after watching most of his movies. It's like we're not supposed to pick up on everything the first time. That being said, I wasn't expecting that in a war movie. I'm used to watching a black and white war movie. So there was some adjusting I had to go through in the midst of watching it, and at times it feels like watching a mystery film more than a war epic. The greatest weakness in this film from my standpoint is the "main character", Tommy (played by Fionn Whitehead). Not sure it's so much his fault as it is just the fact that I don't resonate with him. He barely speaks, I don't know anything about him, I don't know why we're following him, and I don't know what happens to him. An elusive character that doesn't mean a whole lot to the story - unlike Mr. Dawson (played by Mark Rylance) who is someone I immediately like and want him to do well. The film will go down in history as one of the greats because it respected every little detail and stayed true to its unique approach in telling a war epic. **I watched this movie again on 1/14/18 as a rental on a large TV with my wife and father-in-law. Man, this was a totally different viewing experience for me. I have adjusted my scores on Music and Visuals (from 5/5 to 4/5 and from 5/5 to 4/5, respectively). See the sections for further details.
A frustrating and compelling way of depicting war
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
From a character likeability standpoint I didn't resonate as much with the soldiers. The limited talking was frustrating at times.
The theme of "home" is very strong. Shows the brutality of war in a respectful way - no blood gushing or limbs flying off. Makes you also question war more because of the perspective the film takes.
Music is so good! Makes every movie before this feel like they didn't place a value in storytelling through music like this one. Music was in some ways forced to drive the narrative because of the limited dialogue. **On my second time viewing this film, I would still say the music is very well done. In fact, without music this isn't a movie. The music in this film, as well as the sounds in general, should be shown as music schools across the country. HOWEVER, I'm lowering my score from a 5/5 to a 4/5 because the music is so repetitive. The same note over and over again.
I'll be honest. I wanted to care more. But I felt like the film left somewhat unfinished. I'm not British and I'm not a WW2 historian, so Dunkirk was totally new to me. If I would've just watched the film I still wouldn't know a great deal of what actually happened or why it happened, but then again the film's intention is not to answer every question, rather to bring you into a moment in time - and that it did so well.
I don't think you can shoot a movie any more beautifully and consistently than how this is shot. Wow! A few times where the change in day/weather was noticeable, but overall this is perfection. **My second time filming it was SO frustrating to watch the differences in days that they shot this film, which were supposed to be the same day. I wonder what Nolan has to say about this. It's so different that it's almost confusing even though I knew what was going to happen. Also, after reading this story in more detail, since I didn't learn about it in my history classes, I really feel like the story is underwhelming compared to what happened. There were over hundreds of destroyers/boats that sunk at Dunkirk, hundreds of planes were downed, and 340,000 men were safely brought out of Dunkirk. The scale of this movie shows 3 planes and a couple destroyers. Props to them for having the real "props", but holy smokes this moment was so much bigger, and the Visuals should have accomodated that.
I LOVED how this film used time. It was so interesting and offered a deeper layer to an already deep film. The sound effects were tremendous and added yet another point of beauty to this war epic. Three stories interlayed was incredible, but also a lot to try and pull off.