DUNKIRK [2017]

Directed and Written by Christopher Nolan

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, James D’Arcy

Is this the best war film ever made? It is certainly the most suspenseful, tension filled experience of the genre, perhaps of any genre.

Nolan delivers on every count. By splitting the film into three distinct parts that overlap – those at sea, those in the air, and those waiting on the beach – he manages to create incredible amounts of tension by putting soldiers in constant dire situations, but then cutting to another of these sections, pulling the viewer in as we wonder how the previous situation will transpire.

Dunkirk is also a film that is not pandering to as many people as possible; there is no love story shoe-horned into this film. In fact, there is not a female character at all. Considering the events of Dunkirk took place in WWII, during battle as the Luftwaffe flew overhead, Nolan should be applauded for this decision, as it is one of the many reasons this film will turn your knuckles white.

The score by Hans Zimmer is also a big reason for this; rather than a classical/traditional score filling the entire film, there are many moments that aren’t as traditional, culminating in Zimmer’s most unique and original work to date. There are also many long instances where the tense score continues for far longer than what one would expect, adding yet another layer to this incredible experience.

Also apparent and powerful is the juxtaposition of comradery amongst soldiers against the reality of survival in a war zone. There is as much brotherly behaviour as there is mistrust. This is largely thanks to the constant dire situations that Nolan inserts the soldiers into, depicting the impending sense of doom extremely effectively.

The casting is perfect. There is only one real big name, that being of course Mr. Hardy, but his face is covered for most of the film as he plays a pilot, and he doesn’t exactly have a ton of screen-time. In fact, there is no real lead character. The film is neatly and evenly divided, with Rylance a stern presence at sea, while both Kenneth Branagh and James D’Arcy depict the urgency of the situation on the beach – also known as The Mole – as officers trying to get their men home. The many, many soldiers are mostly played by smaller names, culminating in an experience not unlike Band of Brothers, where we don’t recognise many of the men from other material.

More of a tense thriller than a war film – there is little if any blood to be seen – this is a film that is difficult to fault. The levels of tension it achieves is nothing short of incredible, all the more-so considering we all know how the film ends. But even the ending is handled with extreme finesse and limited sentimentality. This is an incredibly suspenseful thriller that successfully conveys the awful atmosphere of war, all without any gore at all.

Saving Private Who?

A full sixer.


19 Comments on “DUNKIRK [2017]

      • Just came back from the showing and it is quite an amazing film. I was particularly impressed by Lee Smith’s editing as well; the parallel cutting actually reminded me a bit of Griffith.

        Also, not to brag, but the 70mm presentation was amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve kinda gotten over all that 70mm or IMAX crap now TBH. I just sit at the very front and that is plenty big and detailed for me. I did see this on IMAX and… well, it was no different. I just was able to sit a bit further back. Looked exactly the same as every other movie.

        I really despise pricks though who insist, you haven’t seen it unless you have seen it on IMAX. I mean, fuck off! Not everyone has fucking access to those screens!! Not to mention the 70mm thing, I doubt there is even one of those type of screens in Australia at all

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, and yeah, the editing was brilliant wasn’t it? Splitting into those three sections and overlapping them was a freaking genius idea.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was, and it worked out very well; I was surprised how rousing the conclusion was as well.

        I’d imagine outside the country it’d be pretty near impossible to see this on 70mm, but the projection really was extraordinary (the level of detail within the frame made it worth the trip for myself).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah mate, for a conclusion that we knew, it was handled near perfectly. Especially Hardy at the end. Just… Wow.

        And yeah my eyesight is pretty horrid, so seeing it on something like 70mm (whatever that even means!!) would just be a waste of money. In fact the IMAX screening was a waste really too, no different from when I sit right at the front. If anything, because of the larger screen, my epileptic brain picks up quality faults because its been blown up soooo goddamn much.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So glad you loved it too! I am still recovering from it. Such an experience and other than the final shot – which was a puzzling shot for Nolan – it’s just perfect


    • Yeah that final shot was a bit puzzling wasn’t it!

      I am also still reeling from the experience. Just…. Wow. I was constantly uttering to myself ‘holy shit holy shiiiiit!!”

      And Tom Hardy’s character was awesome. Those dog-fight scenes were fucking BRILLIANT


      • Hardy’s character was such a hero. Nolan really did have a lot of balls given the ending, actually mostly the most innocent characters ended up getting sad ending :/


      • Hell yeah Nolan had balls to make this. God even the start was amazing, so tense that no dialogue was needed for at least ten minutes.

        And yes I thought the same thing. Hardy’s character was just… awesome πŸ˜€


    • Its soooooo fuckin’ tense man!!! And there is no blood! Yet I still can’t shake it. I just saw Planet of the Apes, new one, yesterday. It was pretty good, but the first thing I said to my dad after we walked out was “It ain’t no fuckin’ Dunkirk!”


    • Yes. Yes, Yes and Yes again.

      See this now.

      Before its gone from Cinemas. Seriously. Now you bastardo! This movie is as tense as all hell, no war movie comes close, Zimmer has never done a score this brilliant, the editing and timeline is unreal, perfect acting, no pandering to Hollywood audiences. Dude, it is near perfect.

      One dip-shit critic from New Zealand said it ‘wasn’t very entertaining’. It really is depressing how shitty people can be at analysing a film yet still have their work out there.

      Then again, it was a New Zealand website. They are the one country we can make fun of hehe πŸ˜› Especially their accents! So I guess their writing being awful is a given; they can barely speak English!


      Go see this one mate!! You won’t regret it! The second time I saw it, when the last five minutes came round I realised I was gripping my water bottle tighter than I thought possible! Now that is tension.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: THE SACRED KILLING OF A DEER [2017] | epileptic moondancer

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