Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dunkirk immerses you in war from the first scene to the last

Movie Title:  Dunkirk

Grade:  A-

Rating:   PG-13, 107 minutes

In a Nutshell:  I write marketing reports for movie theaters and have felt terrible for Dunkirk the past few months, because their trailers almost always elicited ZERO response from the audiences.  Well, audiences are speaking VERY loudly now.  They LOVE Christopher Nolan’s newest film, Dunkirk, based on the true WWII story.

If you can see it in 70mm on an IMAX, do it.  Christopher Nolan went to great lengths to make sure that his movie was as accurate as possible.  The details are impressive. With thousands of Extras on the beach, this film is epic.

The director’s goal was to create an immersive experience.  That it is.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Hope is a weapon. Survival is victory.”
  • Human resolve

Things I liked:
  • With real planes, real locations, and hundreds of Extras.  Everything looked and FELT real.
  • Technically, it is awe-inspiring.  Do I smell an Oscar?
  • Hans Zimmer's sound track is explosive and riveting, filled with intensity almost the entire time. Zimmer used Christopher Nolan's watch to get the ticking sound that fills the movie.
  • I really liked the trailer tagline: “When 400 soldiers couldn’t get home, home came for them.”
  • Teenage girls and fans of One Direction will be thrilled to watch Harry Styles as Alex.
  • I love Oscar winner Mark Rylance in everything he does.  I especially loved him in Bridge of Spies DVD and thought he was adorable in The BFG (Theatrical Version).
  • SPOILER:  I LOVED what Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) did for Cillian Murphy’s character at the end.  I would hope that my 4 sons would have that kind of character and compassion.  That small moment was extremely touching for me.
  • I know a water scene is good when it makes me hold my breath.
  • Rather than focus on big battle movements, the film takes it to a personal level and shows you how war affects the individual.

Things I didn’t like:
  • You don’t really get to know any of the characters and develop a strong connection.  The film’s action reminded me of Saving Private Ryan, yet that film carried so much more weight and emotional pull on my heart because of the character development.  It's my all-time favorite war movie. You’re not given any backstories in this film, however, and there are no quiet scenes where characters talk about their lives.
  • Because of everyone’s thick accents, you can’t understand everything that’s said. I probably missed a good 20% of the dialogue.
  • I thought it was interesting that Tom Hardy would want a role like this.  He played Farrier, a pilot whose face was completely covered almost the entire time. He only had 10 lines during the entire movie.
  • My 17 year old son, surprisingly, said he thought the movie was a little slow. The film runs almost in real time. 
  • SPOILER:  We see only a few small boats coming to the rescue, but in reality, the number was closer to 700.  Nolan used 50 boats on the water, which is actually more than used in any other film.
  • I wish I could have seen a map to better understand where everything was located.  Here’s one:
Interesting lines:
  • “He’s shell-shocked George.  He’s not himself.  He may never be himself again.” – Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance)
  • “Well done.” – old, blind British man
“All we did was survive.” – Tommy (Fionn Whitehead)
“That’s enough.” – old guy
  • “There’s no hiding from this, son.” – Mr. Dawson
  • “What do you see?” – Colonel Winnant (James D’Arcy)
“Hope.” -     Commander Bolton (Oscar nominated Kenneth Branagh)

Tips for parents: 
  • This war movie is intense with MANY moments of life or death.
  • Despite the high body count, it isn’t super bloody and gory like Saving Private Ryan.
  • There was a surprising lack of profanity.  I thought I heard an F-bomb, but because the accents were so thick, I can’t honestly say that’s what the word was.
Want to learn more about this part of history in World War II?  Check out some of these:

Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture
The Miracle of Dunkirk: The True Story of Operation Dynamo

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