Donnerstag, 17. August 2017

DUNKIRK - Movie Review

Title: Dunkirk
Running Time: 106 min
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Aneurin Barnard, Kenneth Brannagh, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, Jack Lowden, Tom Glynn-Carney, Barry Keogahn, James D'Arcy

Since the turn of the millennium, Christopher Nolan has established himself as one of the most renowned directors of our time. Next to his critically and commercially successful Batman trilogy, he has put audiences in awe with mind-bending and sophisticated movies such as "Memento", "The Prestige", "Inception" and "Interstellar". Nolan movies are an event, and whether they like the film or not, people sure love to discuss and talk about their execution and construction. But what happens when a director that is so well-known for his high-concept fiction tackles an historical drama?
Well, with "Dunkirk" Christopher Nolan has once again created a unique cinematic experience, albeit for different reasons than people have come to expect. This is a true story. There is no big twist, no philosophical exploration of our perception of reality and basically no room for interpretation. But Nolan still sets this film apart from other war movies through the way he chooses to tell the story. First of all, there is no real main character, and instead we follow different people at different points during this historic evacuation.We also don't get any kind of backstory for them. This is mostly due to the fact that (especially in the first half) there is extremely little dialogue. A fact that is especially interesting considering that one of the biggest points of criticism concerning Nolan's past work was his extensive use of expositional dialogue. It does not seem however as if this was a response to critics, but rather a deliberate film making choice. By removing the personal perspective from the film, the event itself gains center stage. Imagine watching just the finale of "Titanic" without having seen Rose and Jack before. It creates an atmosphere with an emotional coldness to it, that at the same gives the film a sense of objective realism. Therefore, the film truly becomes a snapshot in time.
By now I have mostly defined this movie by the things it doesn't have, so let's get into the things it does. Because from a technical standpoint, this film is an absolutely masterful piece of cinema. For one, the areal shots of the beach and the ocean are breathtaking. Nolan captures the landscape in a way that gives this yawning void a bittersweet beauty. As though this gorgeous emptiness was already an in-between state of life and death. At other points, he creates a claustrophobic atmosphere that immediately builds up the tension. He taps right into the human fear of drowning or being trapped. Furthermore, he stages most of the action in camera with practical effects making them real and impactful. It should be noted here that this film works without a bunch of gory scenes and manages to display the horrors of war without spilling a lot of on-screen blood.
Something that is rarely talked about in films, the sound design, is another element that contributes to the total immersion of the audience. When bombs drop you feel it, when shots fire you flinch, and when fighter jets nosedive out of the sky, their screech makes the hair on your neck stand on end. Hans Zimmer underscores this with an oppressive atmospheric soundtrack that refrains from large melodic movement. Lastly, Nolan interconnects the three perspectives of the event in a clever way that at some points cements the feeling of inescapability.
"Dunkirk" is a film that has the capability of completely sucking its audience in. It does however ask you to be emotional invested simply because of what happens, and not because of who it happens to. So if you are a viewer who needs a personal connection with a main character to really get immersed in a story, you might not get the same experience as others. And while Nolan tries to make the film at least a little more personal during the last ten minutes, it does not work 100%. But despite this debatable point concerning the writing, Christopher Nolan has once again proven that he is a masterclass film maker when it comes to directing. An actual Dunkirk veteran was moved to tears during a screening of this movie, because he felt like he was there again. Whether you want to learn more about the events of WWII or about the artistry of cinema itself, "Dunkirk" is worth watching. Worth watching on a big screen. A definite recommendation.

For Fans Of:
The Revenant (2015)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The Impossible (2012)
Interstellar (2014)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

PS.: To all the "One Direction" haters, I am sorry to inform you that Harry Styles actually did a good job in this film.

1 Kommentar:

  1. Especially the last two shots were quite intensive. That's a message.
    Great movie, appropriate review.