Surrender to chaos
Love him, or hate him, you can’t ignore him. Christopher Nolan is, without doubt, one of the best filmmakers of our time. So-so or not, ALL his projects leave a mark in some way, shape, or fashion. The man’s vision and how he expresses it may come off a bit much for some, but his brilliance to tell a story is second to none. Nolan has taken audiences from the streets of Gotham, to the infinite world of dreams, to the farthest reaches of space. Now, the innovative director/writer/producer has turned his lens to a real-life event. One that’s resonated and haunted throughout history: the miracle of Dunkirk.
As if many haven’t already been told, DUNKIRK is another horrid World War II story that opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by German forces. Trapped like rats on the beach with their backs to the sea, they face an impossible struggle for survival as the enemy closes in. Driven by will and courage, as the piece unfolds on sea, air, and land the scope of it all goes way beyond victory and/or optimism.
DUNKIRK is way beyond anything I expected, including its unlike-Nolan run-time of a little over an hour-and-a-half. Although I normally walk into films as a blank canvas, the name Christopher Nolan has become synonymous with high expectations. Granted nothing is perfect, but close enough to it does exist. DUNKIRK, so far, is the best flick I’ve seen all year – and I’ve seen some damn good ones! His objective: lure you within the mindset and adrenaline-rush of its ensemble cast as they encounter and endure.
The film is hard and heavy among its exposition. As we speak, I’m still not sure what was more intense: Nolan’s incredible vision, flawless cinematography (Hoyte van Hoytema), or Hans Zimmer’s bone-chilling score that increases the level of intensity. (It’s a bit hard to “pick my poison.”) Either way, at this moment, DUNKIRK is the best in terms of cinema-scape. A harsh history lesson if I may add. Although fictional in the way he portrayed it, it’s a moment in humanity’s existence that happend, and a presentation of it based on thorough research before expressing a vision as sharp as DUNKIRK.
It’s loud, rough, engaging, unapologetic, and brutally gorgeous! (Mainly those aerial scenes) If it’s at all possible to make any sense, this may be the first film In history to run on very little dialogue and backstory as it exposes 3 intertwined, CGI-less timelines in which the action and reaction is its main attraction. It grips your psyche and places you among its vicious action-sequences – and in a morbid way, that’s part of the fun. DUNKIRK’s uniqueness is what makes itself stand firm. It isn’t even a war movie for the sake of war movies. It’s a rescue / escape mission where everything that can go wrong, does.
Is DUNKIRK Nolan’s best work to date? I don’t know. He’s got some solid stuff under his belt. But for sure I can say it’s one of his strongest, most rugged ever. I’ll need another day or so to loosen up from this. I’m sure it’ll live within me for a while, and you as well. I do recommend not to cheat yourself in how you view this film. Due to its grand scale of spectacle in terms of how its shot, IMAX would be the best way to take it in. It’s much more enjoyable and will add to your own experience as someone who lived through the horrors of DUNKIRK.
Grade: A / Genre: War, Drama, Action/Adventure / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 1:47
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan, with Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
© 2017 Warner Bros. Pictures