Review: Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk (Dir.: Christopher Nolan; Cast: Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cilian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh et al.)

(Alert: Potential spoilers ahead)

Dunkirk is a beautiful film, and an exceptional one. It’s not entertainment in the usual sense. It’s an immersive experience. Like any war film worth its salt, Dunkirk is, at its core, an anti-war film that harps upon the horrors of war and its futility.

As you watch men stranded on beaches, trapped in a boat awaiting to be killed, the pointless nature of war strikes you. Dunkirk shows you men trapped in a no-win situation, with a haunting background score by Hans Zimmer conveying the constant fear. If you think the constant bombardment of the score was an overkill, you are getting closer to imagining the plight of the men stranded on the beach, in the ships at Dunkirk.

In Dunkirk, Nolan parodies war, where old civilians are the only hope for young soldiers. Where small boats provide relief when the big, bad ships are easy prey.

Dunkirk featured the best dogfight scenes I have ever watched. The cockpit-view shots of a Spitfire chasing an enemy craft with the endless sea beneath you and the skies above meeting at horizon (which, ironically, you are in no position to savour) are wretchedly beautiful, painfully tense.

This film’s very different from most of Christopher Nolan’s earlier works, with a scarce screenplay, no major twists and an end you know. But Nolan’s innovative non-linear storytelling breathes life into this tale, which he then teases out of you with the tremendous sights and sounds of a horrible episode from human history.

Dunkirk on IMDb