Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan‘s tenth directorial feature film and it’s also his first move away from fiction and into the world of based on, or more aptly inspired by, real-world events. It begins as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces, and trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk in 1940.
From here, the film is broken down into three separate stories, that of those soldiers on the land, the sea and in the air with RAF Spitfires. These three major elements all revolve around survival and Nolan focuses on specific stories but there’s no fictional drama here, he dares to tell the tales of what happened to every day people in May and June of 1940.
For me, he’s picked a very insightful subject as his first ‘real-life’ movie but it’s one I believe comes at a vital time for all generations. As many of us may have had, I’ve always had a fascination with both World Wars and studied on memorial and how we record the events, so Nolan focusing in on this era was always going to perk my interest. I also find the reality of what happens isn’t something people comprehend to its darkest depths, and that’s why Dunkirk is an even more important film than usual.
Although there are ‘big’ cast members on board, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy bringing their talent, it’s the casting of newcomers and lesser-known faces that makes the film even more interesting. Despite their specific roles, the film never devolves into a ‘bigger’ actor mash-up, this is about the events and so when you’ve got the likes of Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan involved, it shows you how important everyone is.
Styles is a particularly intriguing pick in the cast and while his casting was received with a mix of emotion, that’s love from his 1D fans and a little less love from your every-day film fan, it’s clear that it was a vital move as it pulled in an audience that may not have seen this type of film usually and, more to the point, he gives a strong performance in a tough line-up full of impressive performances. There must also be vital mentions to cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema and his sterling visions and visuals, plus Hans Zimmer‘s score, which features a ticking clock of eventuality. That pacing of tick-tock-tick-tock builds the tension and overall is another score that’s achieved quite astonishingly.
Both poignant and poetic in its nature, Dunkirk may not be your usual blockbuster, especially as it doesn’t rely on tricks and plot twists to keep the audience guessing, but it does do something much more important. Nolan’s film highlights and reminds us of the sacrifice, the intensity of the reality and it’s one of those few major films that you can’t look away from for a second. And you shouldn’t either, these people (saved and sadly lost) risked and gave their lives for us, for today, for your modern freedom and they should never be forgotten.
Dunkirk is out now on Blu-ray, 4K UHD, DVD and Digital Download
Order here: http://amzn.to/2zQw5jE
For the limited Filmbook release, that I managed to pick up, it comes with a lovely, strong case that features images from the ‘Making Of’ book plus these following special features:
- Creation: Revisiting the Miracle
- Creation: Dunkerque
- Creation: Expanding the Frame
- Creation: The In-Camera Approach
- Land: Rebuilding the Mole
- Land: The Army On the Beach
- Land: Uniform Approach
- Air: Taking to the Air
- Air: Inside the Cockpit
- Sea: Assembling the Naval Fleet
- Sea: Launching the Moonstone
- Sea: Taking to the Sea
- Sea: Sinking the Ships
- Sea: The Little Ships
- Conclusion: Turning Up the Tension
- Conclusion: The Dunkirk Spirit