I heard a lot of things about Dunkirk before going to the theater and watching it: It was inspired by silent films; It got events and names of soldiers wrong; It starred that kid from One Direction, but most of all I heard that it was excellent, and guess what? All those things are true! While it may be slightly historically inaccurate, and it does give Harry Styles his first starring role, Dunkirk is 106 minutes of gripping cinema!
Most war movies are all about the action. You are either down in the trenches/foxholes with bullets flying by, or up on the battlefields while men are giving heroic speeches to other men before they to charge headlong in to combat. Not so with Dunkirk. The battle is lost before the movie starts. This movie is just about 400,000 men trying to get home while being harassed by Nazi Germany. That is not to say there is no action in Dunkirk, but for the most part it is different. Guys just trying to keep their heads down and not get shot. Though Tom Hardy’s fighterpilot sequences are a little more straight forward.
Speaking of straight forward, Dunkirk’s stories, there are three main plots, all happen at different times, so that was a little jarring at first, but once you get the pacing down it all makes sense and comes together nicely in the end. Also all of the stories are great. There isn’t one where I felt that Nolan lingered too long, or conversely didn’t develop the thread enough.
Dunkirk is a Christopher Nolan film from frame one. The sound, the color, all of it exudes his style. If that is a turn off for you, I think Dunkirk is still worth watching because at least all of his style is still working with a story worth telling. Dunkirk is the best war movie to come out in a long time, and I am sure that it will get some talk around award season, though I am not sure that it will win (we have to wait and see how the indies fair this winter). Dunkirk was a movie made for theaters, so do yourself a favor and go see it before it leaves your local multiplex in a week or two. It is well worth your hard earned cash.