“Dunkirk” is a loud, aggressive movie that exploits Nolan’s love of symbolism. For those wondering, it’s not an amazingly violent movie. But, Nolan relishes those moments of tension and bracing you to feel the impact of unseen attacks. The film goes out of its way to omit France from its role in saving the Brits at Dunkirk. Hell, at times you could forget that the Nazis were even there. If it weren’t for the planes and a few bombs, it just seemed like a bunch of military men bum rushing each other for a nearby boat.
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The first thing that keeps this movie from being a masterpiece is the awkward split between three narratives. You’ve got Mark Rylance leading the civilian British response. These nautical journeymen are leading an expedition of boats to France, as a last-ditch effort to save soldiers. Then, you’ve got the younger soldiers just trying to stay alive. Meanwhile, Tom Hardy is flying through the air like Snoopy trying to gun down the Red Baron. All the while, scene staging and geography get thrown out the window to create a sense of chaos.
Next, this is a film that is in love with its cinematography and has no idea what to do with its cast. When we actually get face time with the cast, their identical husks spouting out cliche dialogue. It’s been said before, but this is the hardest War Film cast to keep straight since “The Thin Red Line”. Sure, the beach landings and bombings look amazing. I just wonder why I had to keep a cheat sheet with me to identify anyone that wasn’t Tom Hardy.
Finally, this movie suffers from a repetitive glut that undermined the two weaker installments of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. “Inception” and “Interstellar” tried to break those habits, but they were emotionally cold movies pretending to be human. Dunkirk could easily be broken down to this cycle: WAR! – Introduction – Contemplation – WAR! – Intro – Sad Contemplation and so on. I would suggest that Christopher Nolan work with his brother on future scripts, as Jonathan Nolan seems to be the brother that understands character relations.
END IT ALREADY
“Dunkirk” is a warfare demo reel that is desperately in search of a point. The 1950s “Dunkirk” feature film shouldn’t feel grounded compared to a modern day release. If this is what a shorter Nolan film looks like, then tack on another 30-35 minutes and find some humanity. War is Hell, but we should at least care about the bodies left in the dirt. The only standout from this film was Tom Hardy, but he spends most of his time hidden by a flight mask. If you can handle RAF Bane, then go see this in IMAX.
- 1 hr and 46 mins
- Warner Brothers