Rated PG-13 | 106 mins.
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Glowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D'Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
As far as war films go, Dunkirk may be one of the best ones to ever be made. Nolan is known for making epic films, but this is his first shot at tackling this subject and he did it so effortlessly. The movie covers the Dunkirk evacuation that took place in 1940 during World War II. The British and their French allies were forced to the shoreline by the German Nazis and what they attempted seemed impossible. Their mission was to try and send all 400,000 soldiers back to Britain, but realistically, were only estimated to evacuate ten percent of that.
Dunkirk is portrayed from three different perspectives during three different period of time: the land in one week, the sea in one day, and the air in one hour. Eventually these timelines overlap at the climax of the film and we see a team of Brits working together to escape. Not one of the three points-of-view outshine the others, which makes a perfect balance throughout the film. It also doesn't focus too much in one setting as the story progresses. The casting choices were great and it's safe to say that Harry Styles' first acting gig was a success. Especially after Nolan himself didn't know what a massive pop star Styles was before casting him made it even better. Putting newcomer Fionn Whitehead as the lead actor in the movie was also a bold choice that worked out in Nolan's favor while regulars like Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy were safe bets.
Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer are the Dream Team of movie making. Not only is the director's job to make films look incredible, but the score makes an immense impact on how we should feel when we're watching it. Zimmer knocks it out of the park with Dunkirk and his intense sounds make you grip your seat. On top of that, the cinematography was on-point and every frame was breathtakingly picturesque. Also, the film was really meant to be seen in IMAX as it was shot using 70mm film versus the standard 35mm, so everything seemed to be on a large scale. Seeing the ocean, open skies, and thousands of soldiers waiting impatiently on the beach has to be seen in a large format. It's also hard to say how much of it was done with visual effects. Nolan wanted to keep it as authentic as possible. So if it was visual effects, then they were stunning. If it was authentic, even better.
The only minor criticisms that can be pointed out are that it was too short for a Nolan film (The Dark Knight was 152 minutes and Interstellar was nearly 3 hours) and if you're not British, it may be difficult to understand some of the dialogue in the film. That's it. Maybe it didn't need to be long, but when you're watching something Christopher Nolan has made, you almost always want more of it.
Overall, Dunkirk is easily one of Nolan's best films to date and to shoot a subject he hasn't done before and make it look incredible is something he should be very proud of. It's just a matter of time until we get the next Nolan masterpiece. ★★★★½
★★★★★ Classic | ★★★★ Excellent | ★★★ Good | ★★ Fair | ★ Poor