Movie Review: Dunkirk (2017)

Length: 1Hr 46

Rating: 12a

Release: 21st July 2017

About:In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

The Good

For me, this has the feel and style of Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan with an excellent stock of known and unknown British actors. For a War movie, I don’t think you can ask more than that.

Both Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh really are amazing in their roles. Neither is a stranger to stoic roles which is clear from their performances.

I actually found the lack of action in the form of on the ground battles quite refreshing and offered something completely different from films that have come before it.

Again, I feel as if this film wasn’t sugar coating war and laid some of the truths out there. While it’s very much a work of artistic licence, there are elements of truth to ensure this isn’t propaganda or censored sudo-history.

The Bad

I struggled with the time framing of the three elements: the land, sea and air. From about half way, there were people (Cillian Murphy being one) who doubled up in the narrative. While with Murphy, it acted almost like a flash back, other scenes didn’t quite work as well and it felt disjointed. I found it particularly difficult with Tom Hardy’s narrative as we’d cut from the grounded pilot and reaction shot to Tom Hardy and the same grounded pilot up in the air.

I didn’t invest in any of the characters other than the family on the Moonstone. They all seemed like a representation of ‘soldiers’ than individuals. For a character driven plot, I really need to be invested and certainly with our teen, Tommy, I needed conviction.

Not addressing Gibson’s mute nature sooner I found a bit distressing. I called it the moment we discover him burying an bootless foot. Perhaps I’m still too in the head of E B Sledge, but challenge him Tommy!! While it’s evident later that he’s not the enemy, the audience don’t know that.

The Ugly

For the first time, I’m not certain Hans Zimmer’s score complimented what was on the screen. Yes, it was tense. So tense in fact that three times I had to pause the film and take a break. However, there was either an instrument, chord or tone that was too reminiscent of Tron and Daft Punk’s electro pulses to gel with a period piece. (Clearly the two Oscar’s Dunkirk won for sound would imply I’m talking utter bollocks. However, I will stand by my opinion and state that I didn’t like it)

Love Han x


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