Dunkirk (Spoiler-Free) Review

Veteran filmmaker Christopher Nolan decides he now wants to make a war drama as his next film.

I cannot imagine anyone objected to this.

So, here is Dunkirk, an infamous event we have all come across in a history textbook or documentary for being what is described in the film as one of the ‘greatest British military disasters’ of our time. With allied troops surrounded and stranded on the beach of Dunkirk by the German forces, little hope lingers for 400,000 soldiers to reach home, but even slighter optimism to survive the evacuation.


Fionn Whitehead as Tommy. Photo credit IMDB.

Nolan has decided to call upon his apparent film ‘BFF’ Hans Zimmer to take the reins of the soundtrack, creating that atmospheric music we have all come to love. It seems Zimmer relished being able to produce such sombre music to fit the mood of Dunkirk. The music goes hand in hand with the grey hues of the beach with the blur of green signifying how many soldiers were marooned. The colour palette of the film only lightens with the sea: i.e. the battleground.

With Nolan’s eye for cinematography he captures the contradictory nature of the English Channel as the battleground for survival. Playing on the fact that the channel is small, even with one officer commenting that you can practically see home, yet Nolan enlarges the channel with his wide shots, to emphasise the bitter irony that this small channel is still too vast and open for the allies to successfully evacuate. The idea that the troops are essentially sitting ducks waiting to be killed creates a sense of urgency within the audience to see these troops survive, at some points you want to applaud when something actually favours the allied forces odds.


Photo credit IMDB.

Like any Nolan film, he cannot simply abide by the rules of that genre and so Dunkirk is not just your standard war film. This film relies on the perspectives of all those involved, not one singular hero, providing a sense of scale of the event and the repercussions that will follow. This was not one man’s battle to survive but that of everyone, which is the story Nolan is telling.

The stellar cast are expectedly brilliant, even Harry Styles in his debut role. The film is a contribution of everything, not relying on an impressive soundtrack or good acting but all elements come together for an intense 106 minutes of basic survival, with a neat refreshing twist on the war genre.

Dunkirk is currently playing in all UK cinemas.


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