Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy
Overwhelming. Outstanding. The best Nolan Movie so far. This is what made the rounds on the internet when I went to see Dunkirk. Did it stand up to the hype? Not really.
Sure, Nolan dictates it with grace and beauty and reminds us that you don’t always need a script like Inception or dialogues like The Dark Knight Rises to make a cinematic masterpiece. This movie, Nolan, and his crew steal on the basis of only the direction and the cinematography. It has no complicated plot lines or character development like Interstellar either, but it keeps you gripped to the seat for the entire 2 hours of run time.
Dunkirk tells the story of World War 2 when Hitler rose to power and invaded France. The allied forces of France, USSR and UK were stranded on the coastal town of Dunkirk, waiting to be evacuated by the British Navy. However, German ships had control over the seas, while the air force of the Third Reich was proving superior to the Royal Air Force. Germany was determined to not let any foe return alive, while the then Prime Minister of UK, Winston Churchill, wanted to save his men at any cost. How one of the largest rescue missions in the history of the world unfolds is the story of the movie.
Dunkirk has it all, including a tremendous acting performance from all. There was no single hero in the movie but involved stellar performances from Tom Hardy and Fionn Whitehead, among others. The music was composed by the legendary Hans Zimmer, which is probably the best part of the movie. The actions sequences are very real, and interestingly, Christopher Nolan didn’t show bloodshed throughout a movie based on a war.
The story does leave a lasting impact on your minds, and the characters continue to live on in your head. The movie shows the life of soldiers, and how ashamed they feel when they let their country down, and how they face death and stare at it in the eyes as they load ammo in their guns. It ends with the infamous speech from Winston Churchill, calling for support to “fight on the beaches and the landing grounds”, and asking the armies to defend their island, “whatever the cost may be.”
This movie, however, does not stand up to Christopher Nolan standards – which is only because of the high bar he has set for himself. There isn’t much character development, and very little emphasis has been given on dialogue writing and the sequence of events that follows. The missing detail that shines, however, is the army.
In the Second World War, a wide majority of British forces were from the countries they were ruling, from the Empire they were running. India, Australia, and other countries which were under the British Raj had to supply not only arms, food, and supplies but also soldiers to fight and win the war for the queen. A complete neglect of African and Indian soldiers in the British army is glaringly obvious, and disappointing that Nolan didn’t get his facts right this one time.
This still doesn’t mean that the movie wasn’t enjoyable, as it was one of the best war films ever made. Not the best Nolan film ever, and stands nowhere close to the Dark Knight series, but a great movie nonetheless.
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