Superior Moviemaking Sets ‘Dunkirk’ Apart
December 7, 2018
Hello and welcome back to another movie review. This movie is not in theaters but it is on Amazon and this movie is Dunkirk. Now many of my friends and family give me a hard time because I talk about Dunkirk too much and granted, I do, but I have not been able to really explain why I think Dunkirk is one of the greatest war movies ever. So here is my long explanation of why I love Dunkirk so much. First off Dunkirk is directed by the great Christopher Nolan and stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Fionn Whitehead, Cillian Murphy, and Kenneth Branagh. Dunkirk was an actual event that happened during World War II, but the characters in the movie are fictional ones inspired by actual soldiers and generals who lived through the event. The editing and story are creative and innovative. The plot follows three separate stories: one on the beach, one in the sea, and one in the air. Each story line also has a different time frame, as the soldiers on the beach progress one week, the sea progress one day, and the air progress in one hour. In the end, all three side plots come together to make a terrific ending that caps off a spectacular movie.
While most war movies depict the suspense and horrors of war by giving us violent action and gore, Dunkirk does the opposite. Christopher Nolan does an amazing job of making the audience feel the psychological struggle that the soldiers faced. The enemy is only miles away and the constant ambushes by German dive bombers plagues the defenseless soldiers as they struggle to get off the beach. Other war movies also show the bonding and friendship of soldiers together on the battlefield, as they would sacrifice their own lives to save their squad mates. Nolan also takes a different direction. Survival is the biggest theme and in Dunkirk, the audience sees soldiers on the beach do whatever it takes to get home. At times, it involves having to sacrifice the weakest of the group so the rest can survive. Nolan portrays the soldiers as having lost all sense of morality and that in times of great danger people will go great lengths and break moral codes to make sure that they survive. While there is little dialogue, one of the best lines of the movie comes from one of the soldiers who chastises his companions for accusing his friend of killing another English man saying, “How hard is it to find a dead English man on Dunkirk beach.”
What also separates Dunkirk from other war movies is the soundtrack and the cinematography. The shots in Dunkirk are magnificent and glorious. The close ups of the soldiers on the beach give the viewer a sense of the hopelessness that soldiers faced and the air battles are in my opinion, the best aircraft battle shots in cinematic history. Nolan smartly shies away from using CGI and computer animation, instead using real life airplanes and boats at Dunkirk and using the awesome IMAX camera that captures the battles in stunning quality. Lastly, the soundtrack is amazing. Without Hans Zimmer’s score, Dunkirk would fall flat. Hans Zimmer puts a ticking time watch in each score to symbolize how time is running out. He uses a dark tone that sets a suspenseful atmosphere that makes the viewer understand the hopelessness that runs at Dunkirk. Without the score, the movie does not have the same suspense and atmosphere. I know Dunkirk isn’t the same violent and action packed war movie, but it is still a great movie. If anything else, the real life story of Dunkirk is incredible and this movie gives this historic event the movie it deserves. I highly recommend you see it if you haven’t. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.