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Movie Review – Dunkirk

I treated myself the other day and shelled out for an IMAX showing of Dunkirk.  The movie, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, tells the story of the evacuation of almost 400,000 British, French, and Allied soldiers from the beach at Dunkirk after being cut off and surrounded by the German invasion of France in 1940.

The story centers around three principle characters:  Tommy, played by Fionn Whitehead, is a soldier trapped on the beach.  Mister Dawson, played by Mark Rylance, is an Englishman who answers the call to take his pleasure craft across the Channel to rescue soldiers.  Finally, Tom Hardy plays Farrier, a Spitfire pilot trying to provide air cover to the beaches and evacuation at the very limit of his aircraft’s range.  Another, but by no means the only, shining star in the highly talented ensemble cast is Kenneth Branagh, who plays the British naval commander on the beach.

Dunkirk is tense, and traps you in its world for its entire length.  Nolan paced the movie very well, and interlaces these three storylines in expert fashion.  Only in the last, climactic scenes do we see how they relate to each other, but you have to pay attention throughout the movie to catch how it is done.

Dialogue is kept to a minimum throughout the film, and what there is is terse and necessary.  There is little to no expository dialogue, and very few exchanges meant to sway the audience one way or another.  The story is told through the actions of the characters, not through long soliloquies.

The film’s score occasionally seemed to be overpowering, but it was used to drive the audience’s mood and synced very well with the story.  I’m not sure that it’s a soundtrack that I would enjoy just for its own sake, but it meshed well with the movie.

The sound effects were excellent.  Nolan obviously took the trouble to get the sounds of the different guns firing, the engines roaring, and the bombs exploding right.

If special effects, either physical or CGI, were used in this movie, I found it hard to see them.  The aerial combat scenes were outstanding, and they make me hope that Nolan follows this up with a movie about the Battle of Britain.

As someone who enjoys military-themed movies, I would put this on the same level as Saving Private Ryan, Blackhawk Down, or Lone Survivor.  I definitely recommend it for adults, and I believe that young people who can handle a bit of justified violence and already know something about World War II would enjoy Dunkirk and learn a bit of history from it.

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2 Comments

  1. mrgarabaldi

     /  July 27, 2017

    Hey DB;

    I heard that it was a great movie and it is on my list, perhaps this weekend. I already heard about some SJW’s bent out of shape because it wasn’t “Diverse” enough. My first comment was “Well there were French soldiers also” wasn’t what they had in mind. My next response was “Well there were no blacks or females in the Army at that tine in that area, Chris was being realistic.”…Silly me, I was expecting common sense…

  2. Clayton Wrobel

     /  July 27, 2017

    I saw it and caught the relationship very early, the 1 Hour, 1 Day, 1 Week subtitles were a dead giveaway.

    I was less impressed with the movie as a whole. It WAS well done and the tension was there, but expected more of the stiff upper lip than there was. I am sure that there were soldiers in Dunkirk like those portrayed, but I hope it was the few rather than the norm. The soldiers were rather unlikable, IMO.

    That said, I don’t regret seeing it.

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