Author Topic: Dunkirk Review  (Read 232 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Sandwich

  • Got Screen?
  • Administrator
  • 212
    • Minecraft
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
    • Brainzipper
Finally just saw Dunkirk. Here's the review I just posted to IMDB.

Quote
"Dunkirk is worth seeing in the theater more than any other movie I've ever seen." - My SMS to my brother—who loves movies as much as I do—upon exiting the theater.

"I don't think I've ever paid money to be stressed out for two hours before." - The friend I watched Dunkirk with.

Dunkirk is a very unique film.

The left jab is visual. You have the wide open settings of the expansive beach at Dunkirk, the waters of the Channel, and the skies above both. There's plenty of other, "standard" shots as well, but the large open swaths of territory are what stick in the mind. They impart a sense of scale to what other movies might feel like condensing down for "dramatic effect" (or whatever). While I never quite felt like I saw an entire 400k soldiers on the beach, the amount of soldiers that were there were sufficient to convey that there were a LOT of lives on the line.

The right cross is chronological. The three story lines, whose threads we follow throughout the entire two hours, take place over different swaths of time—one happens within an hour, another within a day, and a third over the course of over a week. Yet this chronological disconnect between the story lines is not detrimental to the tapestry being woven here. Before realizing this disconnect, there were a couple of times when I was distracted by it being day in one scene but night in another, so an awareness of this aspect of the film might be helpful to have ahead of time (incidentally, this disconnect is communicated up-front in the movie from the start—the on-screen title of one location is subtitled "One Hour", while the next locale is "One Day", etc. I didn't pick up on this until reading the IMDb trivia section afterwards.)

However, it is in the audio realms that Dunkirk delivers its haunting—and extremely effective—uppercut. Two aspects stand out here. One, this is a film that Episode 7's Luke Skywalker would have felt at home in. There might be 50 lines in the entire movie, and yet, you know exactly what everyone is thinking or feeling at any given time. You can read it on their faces and see it in their behavior.

Yet other movies before Dunkirk have had minimal amounts of dialog. The true power behind the aural uppercut is the soundtrack. Viciously intense from start to finish, the score is not as much a piece of music as it is the sound of fight-or-flight adrenaline. It is a constant, never-ending presence throughout the entire movie, and your ears get about as much respite as those brave men on the beach. However, it never comes across as too much or inappropriate. It powerfully maneuvers every moviegoer's mind, heart, and even lungs to feel like you are a part of each scene—and I don't think it's a spoiler to say that none of those scenes were things you'd want to actually partake of. You've probably heard the saying that war is "months of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror." Well, the score of Dunkirk captures those moments of extreme terror perfectly, and doesn't let you forget them in the rare interludes of boredom, either.

Christopher Nolan has K'd it O of the park (if I can for a moment utterly mix my metaphors). Dunkirk is a movie to be seen on the biggest screen you can get to. And apologies to a sizable portion of the world's population, but don't watch it with people who can't keep quiet during movies. It really needs to be experienced uninterrupted, start to finish.

I'll close by addressing one of the complaints about there being no story to it: utter nonsense. Perhaps the complainer was expecting a Hollywood twist to the well-known historical event. I'm sure the participants would have welcomed such a twist even more. Kudos to Nolan for not interjecting in with an incongruous love triangle or some other nonsensical "enhancement". In that sense, Dunkirk is to WWII what Rogue One was to the Star Wars universe—we all know how it ends, but it's the telling of the story that matters. And there IS a story, summed up perfectly in the movie's tagline: "When 400,000 men couldn't get home, home came for them."
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 02:29:07 am by Sandwich »
SERIOUSLY...! | {The Sandvich Bar} - Rhino-FS2 Tutorial | CapShip Turret Upgrade | The Complete FS2 Ship List | System Background Package

"...The quintessential quality of our age is that of dreams coming true. Just think of it. For centuries we have dreamt of flying; recently we made that come true: we have always hankered for speed; now we have speeds greater than we can stand: we wanted to speak to far parts of the Earth; we can: we wanted to explore the sea bottom; we have: and so  on, and so on: and, too, we wanted the power to smash our enemies utterly; we have it. If we had truly wanted peace, we should have had that as well. But true peace has never been one of the genuine dreams - we have got little further than preaching against war in order to appease our consciences. The truly wishful dreams, the many-minded dreams are now irresistible - they become facts." - 'The Outward Urge' by John Wyndham

"The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don't hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others' intolerance - especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide - then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated." - Bren Carlill

 

Offline MP-Ryan

  • Makes General Discussion Make Sense.
  • Global Moderator
  • 210
  • Keyboard > Pen > Sword
    • Twitter
Saw it in IMAX.  Fully agree with your review.

I commented to my friend when we left that I was glad it was only an hour and forty minutes because I didn't know if my stress levels could take much more.  It puts you on a tense edge from its first moments, and you stay there through the entire film.

And sandwich is dead-on about the score.  The film is an assault - in the best way possible - on the visual and auditory senses.  The minimal dialogue is key, because it leaves room for the soaring score that keeps you literally on the edge of your seat through the whole movie (and hey, I studied history, I know how it ended before I went in).  The music makes this film and it is a masterpiece because you don't even realize you're listening to it until it ends.  It's phenomenally well-done.

This is a historical movie, however - do not go in expecting a plot-heavy worm's-eye-view common to war films like "Saving Private Ryan" and series like "Band of Brothers."  That doesn't mean it isn't just as good - it is - but its a sprawling review of what happened at Dunkirk rather than a narrow plot on one group.  It's narratively, not character, driven - which may seem a bit odd, given than the events of the film follow three people.

This is a film that I'd say must be seen in theatre to be fully experienced, and I'd highly recommend the IMAX.
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.  This made a lot of people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move."  [Douglas Adams]

 

Offline Firesteel

  • 27
  • Guy who thinks way too hard about things
    • Steam
    • Twitter
    • YouTube Channel
I definitely agree that it's worth seeing in a theater. If you're familiar with older war movies it has a far stronger resemblance to Tora! Tora! Tora! or A Bridge too Far than something like Saving Private Ryan.

And yes, the score is one of the best parts of the experience.
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline zookeeper

  • *knock knock* Who's there? Poe. Poe who?
  • 210
Eh, it was fine. The movie felt like it was 99% buildup for something that never really came, and especially the music reinforced that. I don't think I mind one unique oddball movie doing a thing like that, but I also hope that the style doesn't get imitated a lot.

 

Offline PVD_Hope

  • 28
  • A Typhon-class destroyer.
If you're familiar with older war movies it has a far stronger resemblance to Tora! Tora! Tora! or A Bridge too Far than something like Saving Private Ryan.

Sold. Tora! Tora! Tora! is one of my all-time favorites.

I wanted to see Dunkirk but, of course, postponed it too far.  :rolleyes:  That's life.
This signature is under construct

Check out my minimod: Lost

 

Offline Firesteel

  • 27
  • Guy who thinks way too hard about things
    • Steam
    • Twitter
    • YouTube Channel
Dunkirk has a smaller focus than Tora! Tora! Tora! as it only has one high ranking officer that gets any focus but it does the multiple perspectives well. My only real criticism is that the beach stuff does not feel like it takes place over the specified time. It also has some of the best film dogfights I've ever seen.
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline CP5670

  • Dr. Evil
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
  • 142857
I liked this one a lot too, especially how it focuses on historical events and atmosphere instead of characters (much like FS) as well as the amazing soundtrack. I'll remember that soundtrack long after I've forgotten the details of the story. I did find the volume to be way too loud, and was covering my ears whenever I anticipated a gunshot. Not sure if that was part of the movie and its sense of tension or an issue with the particular IMAX I was in, but others were doing the same.

 
Considering it's the same director as Interstellar, it may just be intentional.

 

Offline Sandwich

  • Got Screen?
  • Administrator
  • 212
    • Minecraft
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
    • Brainzipper
I did find the volume to be way too loud, and was covering my ears whenever I anticipated a gunshot. Not sure if that was part of the movie and its sense of tension or an issue with the particular IMAX I was in, but others were doing the same.

I suspect it was a theater issue; I didn't get the chance to see it in IMAX, but the volume was fine... perfect, actually. Nice and loud and oomphy, without being painful. :)
SERIOUSLY...! | {The Sandvich Bar} - Rhino-FS2 Tutorial | CapShip Turret Upgrade | The Complete FS2 Ship List | System Background Package

"...The quintessential quality of our age is that of dreams coming true. Just think of it. For centuries we have dreamt of flying; recently we made that come true: we have always hankered for speed; now we have speeds greater than we can stand: we wanted to speak to far parts of the Earth; we can: we wanted to explore the sea bottom; we have: and so  on, and so on: and, too, we wanted the power to smash our enemies utterly; we have it. If we had truly wanted peace, we should have had that as well. But true peace has never been one of the genuine dreams - we have got little further than preaching against war in order to appease our consciences. The truly wishful dreams, the many-minded dreams are now irresistible - they become facts." - 'The Outward Urge' by John Wyndham

"The very essence of tolerance rests on the fact that we have to be intolerant of intolerance. Stretching right back to Kant, through the Frankfurt School and up to today, liberalism means that we can do anything we like as long as we don't hurt others. This means that if we are tolerant of others' intolerance - especially when that intolerance is a call for genocide - then all we are doing is allowing that intolerance to flourish, and allowing the violence that will spring from that intolerance to continue unabated." - Bren Carlill