Is Dunkirk the best from Nolan yet? (movie review)
The movie hall is full on a Friday morning show, Nolan-ites are tense indeed. What they are about to watch might be the best movie of the year, the greatest war epic, or the biggest letdown ever. Keeping my expectation bar at a ‘medium’ setting, I joined them in the quest as the drama unfolded in front of us in the next two hours. So how is the Christopher Nolan’s latest epic, Dunkirk? Read ahead to find out.
The movie opens with a scene in the empty streets of the town of Dunkirk where English and French soldiers are laying last stand off against the advancing German forced which have got them pinned down onto a beach.
More that 300,000 soldiers are trapped here and the movie then goes on to tell about their miraculous escape to British islands by following three lives – a pilot (played by Tom Hardy) who is scouting the skies and engaging with the hostile German planes, a soldier (played by Fionn Whitehead) who is trying to somehow escape, and a civilian boat captain (played by Mark Rylace) who has responded to the call of sailing to the Dunkirk beaching and saving as many lives as he can. In their struggle to reach their goals, their lives keep on weaving together and that is how the fabric of the movie is woven in the next two hours.
The movie is no doubt a masterful war-epic and would certainly go up in the roster with Saving Private Ryan and Apocalypse Now. It is indeed an excellent study in human emotions, sentiments, struggle and very skillfully keeps the tempo high for all its run time. Though the ending is known to all, one cannot help but be at the edge of the seat all throughout. But is this the best from Nolan? Certainly not. Interstellar and Inception would definitely rate much higher talking in terms of crafting story lines, weaving entire worlds, making us feel for characters and having an infinite times re-watch-ability. Dunkirk lets us understand the characters, but from a distance. Even after spending a lot of time with them, they remain as chess pieces moving across the entire game of war. The acting from the lead cast is also set to that tune, where they give their very best in conveying the intensity of the atmosphere, their fears and hopes yet at the same time remain nothing more than few first names spoken here and there.
The movie should be applauded also in its pacing in keeping the tense atmosphere maintained at steady pace and then increasing it at right moments. It is almost as if the story is paced as a symphony piece. Much of is owed to the yet another amazing score by Hans Zimmer. The cinematography is apt, not overdoing scenes of violence or aggrandising war. It keeps us, the viewers at a distance where we can understand what is going on, feel the pain and panic the soldiers are experiencing, yet at the same time keep moving on with the story line. The movie has a much bigger message about wars and the human aspects of it and would rather want us to understand those well.
WIth ‘Dunkirk’, Christopher Nolan has stepped into a different genre, the war-epic drama and has clearly made a grand entry. The movie would surely bag multiple Oscar nominations and could be a strong contender for the best movie of the year. Let’s see as the year goes ahead. Definitely a must watch in IMAX theatre for its amazing visuals and soundtrack.
A Business Analyst by profession, but more a traveller who is trying to analyse millennia of history, culture and stories across the world more than often.
I like to collect things – coins, stamps, books, autographs, and most of all action figures. Comics and pop culture has been an active influence to shape my life goals. In my free time (which I have very rarely) I like to do pencil sketching.
Secret wish – to visit every (real/inspired) place Tintin visited.