There are two things I’d like address before getting into the meat of this review here, with the first being this… I think by now you’ve got to be something of a cold hearted cynic to not regard Christopher Nolan as one of the greatest directors of our time, I mean even if a lot of his films aren’t quite to your taste, you just can’t deny that the man is so good at what he does it’s almost unreal. He’s constructed narratives capable of making the smartest man blush, he reinvented everybody’s favourite caped crusader making him all dark and moody. Unfortunately, many superhero films have tried to replicate this since and few have succeeded.
Secondly, I feel I should warn you that before settling down to feast your eyes on Nolan’s latest it’s important you know that Dunkirk is all about the spectacle of it all. It’s not exactly a film that exists to entertain in the traditional sense, it’s not filled with tonnes of quirky dialog such as “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!” in fact, there’s not a great deal of dialog at all really. It’s all about capturing a moment and telling us what really happened that day on the beaches of Dunkirk.
Dunkirk holds you firmly in its grasp from beginning to end and the tension rarely lets up, of course, a lot of that is all down to the genius of Hans Zimmer’s score. Yet again we have another collaboration between Nolan and Zimmer because it’s clear now that they go together like strawberries and cream. Nolan serves us up another visual epic that’s only taken to new heights by the brilliance of Hans Zimmer’s score, acting as more of an ambient piece rather than a typical musical score. There are moments where it sounds as though you can hear the ticking of a bomb or the sound of dive bombers coming down when they’re nowhere to be found. It really does put you in this constant state of paranoia, nowhere is safe and you’ll never be able to breathe easy until you’re far from the shore.
Moving onto the performances though and the bizarre casting choice of One Direction’s Harry Styles actually plays out better than you might expect. Although don’t get me wrong his performance wasn’t exactly Oscar worthy either, it was just okay… One of those roles that really could have been filled by any Tom, Dick or Harry and it wouldn’t necessarily take anything away from the movie. Tom Hardy plays the role of a spitfire pilot which has made a lot of people across the internet ask “What is it with Tom Hardy playing roles where his face is partially obstructed??” I mean it’s not like he isn’t a good looking guy after all. But Nolan has actually come out and said in an interview that he always hoped to have Tom Hardy for the part all along because he’s just so good expressing all sorts of thoughts and feelings by simply using his eyes and voice.
So while Dunkirk might not necessarily be the type of film you’ll watch over and over again, it is an experience that’s not to be missed. It’s definitely one that needs to be seen in theatres too because unless you have a 50 inch TV with surround sound it just won’t be the same. 8/10
If you haven’t seen Dunkirk yet then watch the Warner Bros Official trailer below!