The latest WWII film comes to us in the form of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’. And it is, to put it simply, brilliant. To be honest, prior to watching the trailer for this movie, I had never heard about the evacuation event at Dunkirk before. For a movie, the whole premise sounded fascinating to me. And in the hands of one of the top working directors today, my expectations were set very high. And it did not disappoint. Beginning to end, the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is exciting and tense as it should be, considering the subject matter. I was worried, though, about the rating (UK:12A, US: PG13). How can you make a WWII movie with no blood and violence, and, still, keep it suspenseful and true to what happened? But, evidently, if anyone can do it, it’s Christopher Nolan.
Nolan made the choice of telling the story through three different timelines. The first timeline, from the perspective of troops on the beach, is one week long. The second timeline, from the perspective of a boat, is one day long. And the third timeline, from the perspective of fighter pilots, is one hour long. And these timelines do intersect eventually.
One thing to keep in mind before watching the movie. There is, relatively, not as much dialogue as you might expect. In many war movies, you have that scene where soldiers are gathered around a night fire, during a meal, or resting after a battle, sharing what their lives are like back home, where this guy has a fiancé waiting for him, and that guy has a daughter, etc. There is none of that here. The movie is laser-focused on the event itself, and nothing else. Which makes sense when you realize that the running time of the movie is only 1hr 46mins, which is way below average for an action or a war movie. Not a single minute of the movie is wasted. Every frame matters.
What I like
Oh, where to begin. I like almost everything. First, this movie is beautifully shot. The cinematography and camera work are great. It reminds me a bit, at least during the airplane scenes, of ‘Interstellar’. The action is intense and keeps you engaged even though, as I stated above, there is no gore such as body parts flying around. The sounds design is fantastic. And the score. Hans Zimmer delivers a score that beautifully complements the tone and feel of the movie. The acting was done well, even with little dialogue.
What I dislike
Anything I say here is nitpicking really, and there are just two things. Number one, in the final minutes of the movie, there is a cut (yes, just one cut. I told you I am nitpicking) that feels the exact opposite of smooth. The cut is for the same character in the same scene, where the camera angle changes. I am guessing that, somehow, between the two shots the sun moved a bit, and changed how the scene looks. I don’t know. And number two, the one-week timeline, with the soldiers on the beach, did not feel like a week. More like two or three days.
My Scoring System
|0/10: Nothing can make the movie worse (unrealistic)||
I do not have an opinion whether you should watch it or not.
|6/10: It has redeeming qualities. You might like.|
|1/10: Absolute rubbish.||7/10: A good movie that I enjoyed. Recommended.|
|2/10: Just a bad movie.||8/10: A brilliant movie that is a must-see for everyone.|
|3/10: So many problems with the movie.||9/10: Masterpiece. Godfather level.|
|4/10: Wouldn’t recommend watching. But might have a few good things about it.||10/10: Nothing can make the movie better (unrealistic)|
Scoring system inspired by John Campea (online movie critic, YouTube movie content creator).