Christopher Nolan is back once more, this time with World War 2 drama Dunkirk. But is it worth all the hype and Oscar talk it’s been getting?
As British soldiers prepare to evacuate from Dunkirk in 1940 we follow three stories; one with the troops on the beach, one with a civilian boat on its way to Dunkirk and another from the perspective of the Spitfire pilots in the air.
I’ve long been a fan of Nolan’s work, even Interstellar which I wasn’t as enamoured with still had Nolan’s great direction, so I’m pleased to say Dunkirk is another triumph for the visionary director. Splitting the three narratives in slightly different time frames can sometimes be confusing but for the most part the three stories are smoothly interwoven. Luckily all three narratives are gripping so you never feel you’re missing out by going back and forth between the stories.
Having seen the film in IMAX helped the feeling of immersion into the action. Whether it’s the thrilling chase in the clouds or the overwhelming struggle for survival on the ground you feel in the thick of the battle.
As we are dropped into the characters viewpoint there is little time to get to know much about these people we’re following. While it is a little disappointed we don’t know much about them on the other hand it would appear that Nolan’s intention is to give you a small bit of what the soldiers are feeling. There’s no time for back story when everyone is just trying to make it out alive. One of the strongest elements of the movie is that it allows you to emphasise with the complete desperation that the soldiers are feeling. That need to survive is something that comes across all the soldiers. They don’t feel brave or proud, they just want to make it home. For this reason Nolan’s film is one of the best to deal with that desperation and the dark places it can take you to. The soldiers here are not categorized as bad or good, just men on the edge who have seen too much too young and want to get out.
Dunkirk is not a war film about victory in a traditional sense. It’s victory is in how many people managed to survive in what was considered at the time a hopeless situation. There’s a few scenes which discuss cowardly behaviour but Nolan reverses these issues back at us asking would you really be any different in this situation?
Rating 4/5 powerful and compelling, this is Nolan’s best shot at an Oscar yet and a worthy one at that