Capsule Review: Dunkirk
Dunkirk is unarguably one of the most technical sound films made so far, but at the same time the effect it has on you is limited. For starters, it requires its audience to have good knowledge of the infamous Dunkirk evacuation that happened towards the end of World War II, without which you cannot make complete sense of the plot. And even if you are well-versed with history, the degree of repetitive sequences, albeit beautifully crafted, is just too high to make it an epic war film. The score by Hans Zimmer is arguably the biggest character in Dunkirk, which manages to keep you hooked despite the aforementioned shortcomings. Director Christopher Nolan knows how important the score and camera work are for a film that tries to bring events happening in air, land, and sea together, which is one thing that works well for Dunkirk. There is tension throughout the 100 minutes of running time, thanks to Zimmer's ticktock tunes, and one that will make you unable to move. Performances are great since dialogue is scarce and subtle, but it still shows how talented Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, and Fionn Whitehead are. The use of numbing score and captivating shots is what hides the hollowness of the plot and what makes this an average watch at best. Director Nolan had set the bar quite too high with his past few films but Dunkirk seems to be missing the trademark. TN.
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"Non linearity at its best as Nolan beckons Oscar!!!
Over the years, Hollywood has had some extraordinary directors such as Hitchcock, Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, Tarantino etc etc. But one person who has absolutely fascinated me with each of his films is Christopher Nolan. I became his fan with "Memento" & since then he has never ceased to surprise the audience with his craft. On the contrary, he kept setting the bar higher & higher. So when the trailer of his war thriller "Dunkirk" hit the screens just before Xmas, it created an unprecedented hype & anticipation. Is it indeed one of the greatest war movie ever made???
As the name suggests, it is about the evacuation of the British forces who were stranded on the beach of Dunkirk in France during WWII. The enemy (interestingly not even once, Germany is mentioned) was unleashing hell on the 400,000 soldiers who were virtually sitting ducks on the beach. The movie moves in a non linear pattern with three separate tracks, each of which focuses on land, water & air respectively. The first track happens over a week & is about a young British soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who had managed to reach the beach alive & was trying to find a vessel which would take him home. With the Royal Navy ships coming under heavy fire, they opt to command private boats for evacuation. Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) joins the mission but rather than wait for the Navy, he sets sail on his own with his son Peter (Tom Glynn) & his friend, George (Barry Keoghan). This track unfolds over a day while the third segment happens over an hour in the sky. The Royal Airforce spitfire fighters which included Farrier (Tom Hardy) tried to keep the airspace clear to provide a safe passage for the rescue boats.
Apart from donning the director's hat, Nolan has penned this brilliant script as well. The beauty of the movie is that even though there are very few dialogues, the impact that is able to create on the audience is unbelievable. He has weaved all the three segments so well that even though there are difference in time duration, we dont feel it at all. All the technical aspects are brilliant & so realistic especially the aerial sequences that we actually feel we are on the fighter planes, kudos to Hoyte's breath taking visuals. Another major factor that elevated the viewing experience to a whole different level was Hans Zimmer's music which instills chills & goose bumps in equal measure.
As far as performances are concerned, each & every actor has done utmost justice to their roles. Tom Hardy with his mask on reminded me of Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises" but that didnt handicap him as his expressions conveys the emotions effectively. The same applies to Kenneth Branagh as Commander Bolton, Mark Rylance & Tom Glynn as well.
Verdict: It is undoubtedly one of the greatest war movies ever made which is more than reason enough not to miss this gem. Even without the gory scenes that is part & parcel of movies in this genre, it still manages to keep us on the edge of our seats. In short, just rush to your nearest theatre if you havent done it till now!!!