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I have a conflicted relationship with Christopher Nolan. Some movies I love, and others I have major complaints about-COUGH Interstellar and Dark Knight Rises- but I have almost nothing to complain about when it comes to Dunkirk.
Many war movies are focused on the experiences of a character in the midst of it, but with Dunkirk, Nolan puts nothing but the event in front of us. We follow the perspectives of 3 different groups over different time periods during the invasion of France in 1940, where the allied troops have been surrounded at the French coastal city of Dunkirk. The Nazis have surrounded them on all sides except the ocean and 400,000 allied troops are desperately awaiting rescue from the British. In the midst of waiting, the soldiers face constant bombardment from the Luftwaffe and German U-boats. The stories of the people involved aren’t put at any particular level of importance, because the movie is completely focused on just displaying their perspectives of the battle. And it is brutal.
Nolan has achieved something incredible special with Dunkirk. The 70mm frame rate creates a beautiful gritty picture that is constantly shaking. You truly feel like you’re stuck at the beach with the soldiers. But the true gem of this movie is the sound design. The brutal hum of the airplane strikes, the explosions on the beach, and the capsizing ships; it’s horrifying, it’s distressing, it’s incredible. Whoever did the sound design and mixing for this movie achieved something very unique with Dunkirk, and I can’t think of the last time I singled out sound design as the highlight of a movie, but it deserves it.
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The acting is superb widespread. You just wanna give each one a hug or make them feel somewhat safe; you truly feel the hopelessness of their situation, and you truly want them to survive. I’m not gonna name a specific actor, because I think that would undermine what the movie is trying to do.
My only small flaw is with part of the storytelling, which is that it’s 3 time frames told simultaneously. One goes over a week, one over a day, and one over an hour, which makes for some confusion over where we are in the story. But it’s a minor flaw, and barley takes away from the movie.
This is a unique war film, with no beginning or end. There’s only the battle. No intro of the characters, no resolution to their lives post-war. Just the battle. It’s not very long, but it’s incredibly powerful. This movie blew my mind, and I cannot wait to see it again.
Today, Elliot is emotionally exhausted and relieved.