Movie Review: DUNKIRK (2017)

Published by Shah Shahid on

Dunkirk is technically brilliant, utilizing creative storytelling for a different kind of war movie.

Christopher Nolan has recently been an advocate of films in theatres, over the home video streaming model that seems to be the future. So it’s hard not to take the creation of his latest movie Dunkirk, as anything but a massive statement for just that; proof that films need to be experienced in a theatre with the technology that was used to enhance the process.

But Dunkirk ends up being so much more than a point in an ever increasing debate about the future of movies.

Rating: ★★★★ /5

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With a rating of PG, (Parental Guidance) Dunkirk seems to limit itself right away from classic war movies like Saving Private Ryan or Apocalypse Now. This prevents any graphic depiction of blood, gore or the foul language that we’ve all come to associate with war films.

Regardless, Dunkirk is still able to tell a great story that is riveting, engaging and action packed. Featuring a story about Allied troops stranded while the enemy closes in on them, as the British empire scrambles civilian ships by sea, in order to save them.

The story is told in an innovative way that keeps the audience guessing from the jump, and the pay off is worth the suspense through out the film. The film is almost telling a segmented story with Dunkirk, featuring three separate stories or different groups of people during the events of Dunkirk. 

A father (Mark Rylance) and son duo, with the help of the son’s friend, (Barry Keoghan) race off in their own boat to try to save soldiers at Dunkirk, rescuing one of them (Cillian Murphy) from the water. Another segment sees a young soldier (Fionn Whitehead) who tries escaping on his own, and comes across many situations that risk his life. Lastly, the story takes to the sky as a British fighter pilot (Tom Hardy) is trying to prevent enemy ships and planes from reaching the evacuees.

Nolan casts the movie with relative unknowns and supporting character actors like Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and James D’Arcy. However, the performances are top notch, in a movie that features a lot of sequences of silence and just events unfolding on the screen. But never is the action tiring or uninteresting. Unlike other movies in similar genres, the war scenes never feel gratuitous or extravagant for the sake of showing off. It feels like just enough to tell this particular story, and keep it moving forward.

Dunkirk features very little dialogue and more things happening on screen. It’s things like that which make it seem like Nolan was making a statement, especially with the IMAX scenes and jaw dropping war visuals. However, the moments between the characters have a lot of impact as well. The storyline involving Rylance’s character and his son is probably the most emotionally impactful. While Hardy’s pilot is the most riveting and exciting storyline. There has been very few movies that depict the aerial dog fights of WWII as wonderfully as Dunkirk.

Dunkirk is a totally different type of war movie that blends the action sequences wonderfully with an ‘on the ground’ aspect of the events. The three segmented stories provide different perspectives of the same events, enhancing the story and enriching the situations that much more. The movie is definitely more than a statement, but a more rounded movie over all.

Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad

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