Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest directors working today. There’s no point in arguing about that because everyone seems to agree. From Memento to The Dark Knight to Inception, Nolan has crafted genre bending films that stay with you forever. Dunkirk, however, was the first time Nolan would be making a movie based on a true story. A huge undertaking, the story of Dunkirk is one of history’s greatest escape stories. Could Nolan do it justice? The answer is a resounding yes.
The Evacuation of Dunkirk is surprisingly a story not many millennials are aware of. That’s why I personally was so excited when it was announced that Warner Brothers were making a movie about the miraculous escape. It is a story that needed telling, and who better than the director behind some of the best epics of the last decade. All of Nolan’s movies have a special place in my heart but Dunkirk takes the cake. It’s Nolan’s “piece de resistance”. It takes a special kind of movie to have all the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly together. This is that special movie.
Starting with the acting. Nolan recruits many of his old collaborators to join and they deliver. Tom Hardy is Bane AKA Spitfire pilot, who spends the entire movie doing what he can to help the 400,000 men on the ground. Cillian Murphy is the shell shocked soldier who brings a lot of raw emotion to his role, with surprising twists in place. It’s the new boys who really stand out in the end. Finn Witrock plays Tommy, a young man doing whatever he can to get home. He meets up with a different set of characters along the way including Alex who’s played by Harry Styles (who was actually great). Mark Rylance also shows up playing the British equal to his character from Bridge of Spies, quiet and subdued but obviously great.
I was lucky enough to see Dunkirk in IMAX. It’s obviously expensive but if there’s movie worth seeing in IMAX, it is definitely Dunkirk. The dogfight scenes are not to be believed. Some of the shots are out of this world and when you find out that Nolan put cameras on real Spitfires it makes any movie loving brain go crazy. You feel as if you’re there experiencing what 400,000 soldiers lived through. The sound editing and mixing are phenomenal only adding to the experience. Hans Zimmer’s score blasting you through the movie, never allowing for a moment of “what time is it?” or “I should grab a handful of popcorn”.
Dunkirk is that perfect movie that only comes around once or twice a year, if we’re lucky. For 100 minutes we got to see a sliver of what life was like for the Allied soldiers at Dunkirk. It’s emotional and I count myself lucky to have seen it in theaters. For the entirety of Dunkirk my stomach felt like it was in my throat and now finishing this review my heart is beating faster just thinking about it. It is simply phenomenal.