Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff


How great are movies? Am I right? They have the ability to thrill us, wow us, and make us feel like we are part of the experience.  Christopher Nolan wants us to feel Dunkirk, not just watch the events unfold, and he has put all his film-making powers towards that goal.  What resulted was me needing to catch my breath and my mom simply staring at the screen for a few moments in silence as the credits rolled.  Dunkirk, as it turns out, is an outstanding cinematic experience.

Nolan chooses an unconventional chronology era, using three different time frames to tell the story (land, air, sea) but syncing up the tension within each so that even though we know they are happening at different moments in time, it still flows.  This was a neat way to balance all of the threads and it works quite well.

Dunkirk is less abut the personal stories involved with Dunkirk (though those are there), and its not about learning about all of the events and military strategies that transpired, its about putting the audience on the beach and making it feel visceral.  Think of the D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan to understand what I mean here. We are meant to sense the fear when we hear the enemy planes making their way to the beach, we are meant to feel the gunshots when they ring out suddenly, we are meant to understand the vertigo of an open sea dogfight.  It all works so well.

And the sound!  A big part of creating these experiences is the incredible sound design, which is definitely enhanced by a theater viewing.  The bullets ring out, the fighter engines emit doom, the ocean waves sound of desperation.  The visual cues are also great, with little details like all of the rifles lined up along the pier, and the sea foam!  Oh the sea foam.

I don’t give out 10 out of 10’s very often, but this movie deserves it.  I am a big Nolan fan, but to be honest I was skeptical when I heard he was making a war movie, not sure that he would be able to set himself apart from all those other war films out there.  I should have known better.  Dunkirk is its own thing, for sure, and a spectacular way to capture on film such an important moment in history and such a great story of ordinary citizens answering the call of duty.


One Response to “Dunkirk”

  1. I really liked this one. I thought the best parts was where there was no dialogue. It just seemed to bring out the emotion of the film even more.

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