Let me say up front war movies aren’t usually my thing, so reviewing the new Dunkirk movie was always going to be interesting. WOW!!! What an amazing movie. My first thoughts as the credits rolled were Immersive, Exhausting, Astonishing. Simply said … just go see it.
Having admired Christopher Nolan’s last movies, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, as well as the lesser known Locke, it was a no brainer to go see this one, but would he be able to deliver three times in a row? You betcha.
One of the most fascinating things about the movie was that there’s no green screen. Keep that in mind when you watch it. The planes are real, the naval ships real, the freezing water real. Spare a thought for all those actors in heavy, cold, uniforms, but more importantly spare a thought for the actual soldiers who went through this ordeal.
The story is one we’ve all heard. 400,000 men stranded on the beach unable to make it out to the ships with the Germans zeroing in. Enter local fishermen on their tiny boats, who rescued 300,000 men.
The movie looks at the separate stories:
On land – The film follows the attempts of three young opportunistic soldiers trying to get home using any means possible. Young actor Fionn Whitehead was a standout carrying the bulk of the story.
On sea – 62 Naval ships were used during the movie to explore what happened when hundreds of men managed to get onto the ships.
In the air – Spitfire planes, with enough fuel for one hour, engaged in dog fights. Here it was fighter pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) who conveys the futility of war. This film marks the third time Nolan and Hardy have worked together. While Nolan joked about seeing what Hardy could do with just one eye, viewers will find out it wasn’t a joke at all. With the camera mounted on his left side Hardy literally acts with one eye.
Just as you think everything is going to be fine, there’s a switch.
The movie shows the importance of working with a great team. With few speaking parts the music of Hans Zimmer has to help carry the emotions, which it does superbly. So too cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema whose images capture the emotions on ground, sea and air.
It’s little wonder that this movie is number one in the world at the moment.
One can only hope this team gets together again sometime soon, and that Nolan, Whitehead and Hardy are acknowledged at awards season.