Director Christopher Nolan is back with Dunkirk. This isn’t supposed to be a typical major hero v villain, happy ending, action climax piece of film… if you know what I mean. With dialogue sparse, the film focuses more on the event of Dunkirk rather than the characters. Few characters are given names and you focus on the ensemble cast as a whole rather than one singular character. I thought this was effective because the urgency to evacuate is magnified and you want everyone to reach home safely. Winston Churchill wanted 30,000 home but didn’t anticipate how the civilian boats would magnify survival to 300,000 + hence the saying Dunkirk spirit!
I personally feel Nolan stayed as true to the event as possible and as respectful as you can be in which he created some highly credible film. They went back to the beaches of Dunkirk to shoot the film which must have felt eerie for the both crew and cast. Nolan’s use of authentic war ships and fighter jets kept it as close as it can be and even showcased the film to veterans and spoke with survivors of Dunkirk. Despite it being Nolan’s shortest film it felt quite long due to the constant enemy bombardment from the Germans, it really emphasised how horrific the events were. I’m glad they didn’t try to create extra subplots with characters because there is a moment two characters meet and they don’t exchange names they just get on with it because of the situation they are in.Nolan gives us three perspectives to look from you have the soldiers on land, the Navy on sea and the RAF pilots flying around the loudest fighter jets which made me jump so I can’t even imagine in real life how they coped. 400,000 British, French, Canadian troops ended up cornered in Dunkirk with the Germans causing absolute carnage by boxing them in. I’ve done some research to just establish anything that wasn’t clear or maybe exaggerated within the film just because whilst I was watching the film it didn’t really seem like many people were saved… However In one day they managed to evacuate 68,000 to safety!!!
The Germans initially pulled back which has brought up many debates as to why Hitler chose to do this which gave the British some time. It was until the enemy heard 68,000 soldiers had made it to safety that the Germans continued to drop bombs and shoot the soldiers whilst evacuating. Nolan literally gave me anxiety through the whole film by using string instrumentals to emphasises the urgency of evacuation and it literally made me feel uneasy. I do think it is important to remember these events and how heroic those soldiers were but it also felt ironic that we were watching it from the comfort and safety of a cinema chair whilst in reality men lived through this.
With actors like Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy it must have been a great experience for big screen newbies Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead. Although everyone has been talking about it you didn’t really notice Styles as himself, he blended in as an actor perfectly and gave a genuine performance. I think sometimes it can be unfair for celebrities to enter the acting world just because of their “celebrity” but in this case Styles really proved his worth. Whitehead was incredibly impressive for someone who is completely new to this world and I think he will only continue to be cast in future films.
It is quite an emotional watch and had me on edge for the whole film and if you are a fan of war films, this is another one to add on your watchlist. You can only admire the efforts put in to create a piece of iconic film that is as ethical as possible and I think Nolan did justice. You really get an intense perspective of both land, sea and sky which is important to remember all efforts and how many different aspects of war there actually is.