Dunkirk (2017)


Christopher Nolan directs Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy in this gripping recreation of the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. 

Dementedly powerful stuff. I was sat bolt upright and leaning forward in my seat for the second half. With its propulsive editing, ticking Hans Zimmer score and stoic physical ensemble acting, this cinematic experience grabs you in a stranglehold. I staggered out thinking this has to be one of the greatest movies ever made. Some of you may not like the tricksy temporal structure, others the fact that long periods are dialogue free zones. But no one can deny that Nolan puts you right into the mix and these intentional showy tricks are part of that journey. He has been considered our finest large canvas filmmaker by many for years; Dunkirk finally delivers on that promise. I rarely discuss politics in my movie blogs. I’m uncertain on hot topic issues like representation and feel my own left leaning sentiments are rarely broached in modern studio output for it to be an issue worth raising but… After Dunkirk I was left with a nagging doubt about Britain in its current state. It feels unlikely our population would ever be pulled into such a large scale conflict again but stranger things have happened. Would we fight though? Would we survive the tragedies presented? With our services eroded by self serving governments, British identity divided by both the influences brought in by mass immigration and the media’s bias against what is often a positive change, and a generation brought up on excess and selfish values…  why would anyone still go to war even if needed? Would anyone feel Britain is worth fighting for? Or that if you did, that the person next to you would fight by your side to survive a Nazi advance, a sinking battleship or a crashing fighter? I know Nolan’s intention has little to do with celebrating patriotism and more to do with the collective zeal to endure… but as stukas howlingly swoop over beaches and men desperately plug bulletholes in boat hulls with their hands, has he recreated a lost world of men, bravery and action now completely alien to my era?




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