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Dunkirk: Review

Updated on September 5, 2017

Dunkirk tells the story of how allied British and French troops were cornered by the German army in War World 2. Trapping them on a beach (Dunkirk, France) and picking them off by the hundreds, as German planes drop bombs, or U-Boats sink rescue destroyers, providing no escape, and no hope for the soldiers now in a hopeless situation.

The film is told in three parts, all taking place at different times, but ultimately all stories converge at the end of the film in what was one of the most gut-wrenching war films in the last 30 years without any gore. That's right. No gore. Director, Christopher Nolan wanted to keep a PG-13 rating to reach to a wider audience. You can say it is for more money if you're cynical, but he claims it is to teach as many people as possible about what happened at Dunkirk, even the younger crowd who are not as restricted as they would have been at a movie with an R rating. I believe him. PG-13 allows a larger range of people learn about an important time in human history when civilians volunteered to help soldiers in need, and bring them back home.

Christopher Nolan, one of our finest filmmakers working to date, doesn't forget that he is still making a movie for our enjoyment, and rather than just telling a boring, overly-long lecture about what had happened at Dunkirk, he makes it as immersive as possible, and visually beautiful to look at. Many shots seemed as if they were paintings come to life, and not just in cinematography, which is color, but in shot composition. Camera placement, character placement. Everything was strategically designed to look as if a World War 2 painting jumped right out of a canvas and onto the big screen.

The movie was filmed in IMAX 70 mm, and it has to be viewed in that format. The film is so large, you are able to see how massive the armies were, how vast the ocean looks, and how thrilling dog fights in the skies could be. You just can't watch it any other way. Christopher Nolan is front runner for best director at next years Academy Awards, and though I know it is to early to predict he'll win, with Oscar season just right around the corner, I have no doubt he will at least be nominated. If he is not, then the Academy is blind.


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