Dark exploration of war

July 25, 2017

Christopher Nolan is back with his latest new masterpiece Dunkirk and while it’s fair to say that critics are loving every minute, a more general audience might get lost in the battle.

Despite it being a war film, this isn’t a bloody and violent tale. Instead, Nolan takes us through three stories that overlap each other and delivers a dark and moving exploration of survival at war.

A depiction of true events, Dunkirk takes place in the town of Dunkirk in France during World War II, when hundreds of thousands of British and French Allied soldiers are stranded and surrounded by German forces.

Evacuation is an impossible task; every attempt is thwarted by German planes, soldiers or ships. Following men on the land, in the air and on the seas, Nolan creates atmosphere and centres his film within a single scene, creating a sense of intimacy.

While the technique is nothing that Nolan can be faulted on (he proves time and time again that he is a master behind the camera), his execution of the storyline of Dunkirk is lost in his continued exploration of time.

With three separate stories that take place across a week, a day and an hour respectively, it’s a bit of a mess for audiences to untangle, though there are a few clues along the way to help pinpoint locations and events.

And while the acting is flawless, barely any characters have more than a dozen lines of dialogue, and most are barely coherent over the surrounding explosions and attacks.

The sound of this film certainly makes an impact, delivering a realism and authenticity that is rare and makes scenes feel powerful.

While a lot of people are calling it the greatest war film of our age, and it certainly can’t be denied that Dunkirk does what few other war films do in terms of emotion, Nolan’s craft often gets in the way of what could truly have been an epic film.

Have you seen Dunkirk? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section. 

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