ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dunkirk. A Review

Updated on July 23, 2017

Based on the amount of money that they make and the obsession people have with watching movies on the IMdB top 250 (There is no way Shawshank Redemption is the highest rated movie of all time) chances are that everyone who reads this has seen a Christopher Nolan movie. He has become the go to director for summer blockbusters tackling everything from Batmen to interstellar travel to the deepest part of your dreams. Dunkirk brings Nolan back to earth and gives us his first movie based on a historical event and while I do miss his ability to make science fiction into reality Dunkirk ranks among his best.

The basic run down of the plot of Dunkirk is around 400,000 British, French and Dutch soldiers are stuck on a beach in the French city of Dunkirk at in World War 2.The Germans have them sunnounded and despite all efforts the soldiers are repeatedly attacked as they are sitting ducks on the soapy shores with nowhere to go. Although it is considered one of the worst military disasters in British history, Nolan finds themes and a story in the disaster. He splits the narrative between 3 different groups, the soldiers on the beach, a civilian ship that along with a ton of others heads from England to Dunkirk to save the stranded soldiers and a group of fighter pilots patrolling the skies.

It is rumored that the screenplay for Dunkirk is only 73 pages long. For some context each page in a script equals about one minute of screen time. Dunkirk is obviously not 73 minutes long, but Nolan is more interested in telling the story between he dialogue. Nolan has certainly worked with screenplays that play with the normal movie format. Memento is told backwards, Inception intentionally confuses the viewer and Interstellar plays with time travel. Dunkirk also kind of plays with time by having the thee different settings take place over different amounts of time, The mole lasting a week, the rescue ships taking place over a day and the fighter pilots clocking in at just around an hour.

Did I confuse you? It's a lot easier once you see it put into action. Nolan drops little hints throughout the different stories to clue you into where in the timeline they are, like if a character is still alive or if a ship is still floating. Once the flow of the movie gets going you almost wont even notice the shifts as the editing and pacing gives you almost no chance to fully take in what the horror of what you just saw.

As I mentioned before the script for Dunkirk is quite short and that is because there is very little dialogue. There are no long conversations about the horror of war or families back home. No character gets a backstory, no one weeps over a dead friend and there are no speeches to rally the troops. Some people have knocked Nolan in the past for lacking to put any empathy into his movies and in Dunkirk he takes it a step further. Like in war these men are just a number and the lack of talky parts prevents you from really getting to know any of these guys. Besides who needs dialogue when the sound effects are so good!

The sound in Dunkirk is worth the price of admission. The sound of planes flying overhead, the bombs being dropped onto destroyers, the ships sinking every aspect of sound puts you right on that beach. Silence is never comforting as the lack of sound only means something worse is coming next. I recommend seeing Dunkirk in IMAX to really get the full effect, on the bigger screen with the enhanced sound you will be sucked into your seat gripping the arm rests. Within the first 5 minutes you will be blown away by just the gunshots alone.

Along with the amazing sound effects there is also an amazing score by the incredible and frequent Nolan contributor Hanz Zimmer. Not only is his score somber and perfect for a war epic, there is also an ever ticking clock adding to the tension. Not unlike Baby Driver earlier this month Dunkirk has some of it's action in unison with the sound of this ticking clock and to see both of these movies use music and sound so well is a testament to the directors and their vision.

Speaking of the director, what more can I say about Christopher Nolan. The man is a master at his craft, not just visually but in the small decisions he makes. Most of the young soldiers are unknown British actors (Save for a Harry Styles who fits in fine) and that is such a key element of this movie. Often when a big star is in a movie the audience knows they cannot die, at least until the end of the movie. Nolan makes these characters expendable and even further adds to the tension of Dunkirk.

That's not to say there are not some big time actors here. Mark Rylance may earn himself his second best supporting actor nomination in a row, Tom Hardy once again has his face covered and only gets about 10 lines but his actions speak volumes. Kenneth Branagh delivers a performance that feels a bit too much for the stage and chews up a lot of scenery when he is on screen but this is what he is known for. His character is almost like something out of a play and his tone fits right in.

Once again Nolan has opted to use as little CGI as possible and instead captures the action of Dunkirk using either miniatures or the real life thing. Over 60 ships were used during the making of Dunkirk and even though I would never have noticed I'm sure viewers out there will. This is what has given Nolan movies that layer of realism, even when the movie is about a Batman or hacking into dreams he is able to put enough real stuff around the crazy stuff to keep us grounded.

I am not usually a fan of war movies, they glorify violence and are normally slow and boring. Until now HBO's Band of Brothers (Which if you have not seen get on that ASAP) has been my absolute favorite adaption of a war story and Dunkirk is about the only thing that comes close. Where Band of Brothers was much more about very real people and real events down to the specific battles, Dunkirk throws away the personality and just gives us.....well war. There is something to be said for both styles but if you ask me I would take a full on experience that takes about 8 and a half hours less to tell comes out on top.

Not only is Dunkirk inventive in it's format but it is supremely entertaining all the way through. Most war movies are ridiculously long. (See last years Hacksaw Ridge) Dunkirk trims the fat with a 1 hour and 45 minute run time while still feeling like we have seen everything we need to. If you are in any way a fan of movies Dunkirk is a can't miss, if you are interested in World War 2 or any armed combat for that matter Dunkirk is an all time great. Inception made me decide I wanted to do something with my life involving movies and The Dark Knight Trilogy made me love the caped crusader again, but Dunkirk may just be his best outing yet.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)